The Truth about Forgiveness

“Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.”
Nelson Mandela

We’ve been talking about forgiveness for 2 weeks now.  Why the big deal about forgiveness anyway?  According to the Mayo Clinic, it turns out that not forgiving people is not so good for your body.  You could experience stress and hostility, a high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and chronic pain, as well as an increased risk of alcohol and substance abuse.  Yep, that’s right-holding onto those feelings of anger, bitterness and vengeance can bring you to death’s door a lot sooner than you should get there.

You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: forgiveness doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. What happened was still wrong.  So whether you’re asking someone to forgive the wrong you did or they’re asking you to forgive them, know that there still needs to be responsibility taken.  But by asking for forgiveness, honestly and sincerely, you or they are accepting responsibility for the wrong.

Forgiveness doesn’t happen over night.  It may start with the words “please forgive me”, but it takes a period of change, communication and compassion to reestablish your relationship with the other person.  It won’t be easy for either of you, but together you can take the words “please forgive me” and transform them from words into a radical relationship.

Who do you need to begin a forgiveness journey with?  I encourage you to start with “please forgive me” today.

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