“The first step in forgiveness is the willingness to forgive.” Marianne Williamson
As we begin Lent today I thought we should talk about a topic so essential to this time of year for the spiritual, the crucifixion of Jesus so we could be forgiven of our sins without paying the true price for them. Forgiveness is one of those really challenging topics. You think about things that are in relationship often with forgiveness like murder, hatred, lying, stealing, and adultery; all topics that bring up dark feelings within us. When it comes to them, we don’t want to forgive, we want revenge. Marianne Williamson also said:
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”
I don’t know about you but when I’m in the grips of unforgiveness over a situation nothing seems good. It doesn’t seem like life is really going anywhere. I’m just stuck going over and over and over this situation that’s got me so wrapped up in hurt and frustration. It’s not easy to consider forgiving. After all, don’t those who have done wrong deserve to be punished? I believe they do. We have to be held accountable for our actions. But that does not mean that we have to be unforgiving of those deserving punishment.
Forgiveness is a complicated topic because there’s forgiving someone else and having someone else forgive you and having someone else accept your forgiveness and you accepting someone else’s request of forgiveness. I’ve found that while it’s always best to resolve things with both of you forgiving each other, if that’s not possible it’s essential for you to forgive them even if they don’t accept it or offer it.
Why? Because without forgiveness you’ll not only never find peace, you’ll never be able to fully live your own life with this hanging over your head. If it’s too overwhelming to consider fully forgiving the person or person who has hurt you, start out with Williamson’s advice: discover the willingness to have, or the possibility of, forgiveness.