The Art of Forgiveness
Every single person in my life has let me down in one way or another, whether it was intentional or not. Similarly, I am absolutely certain that I fail everyone around me more than I know. To put it bluntly, good people do things that they shouldn’t. Sometimes, it is very hard to move past the hurt and pain that a person inflicts on another. Yet no matter what the cause, I believe that everything is worth forgiving.
Sometimes I don’t understand why people do things that hurt others. I get annoyed and think, “Why don’t they know that what they are doing is wrong?” Yet every time I find it hard to forgive someone, I make myself realize that it isn’t worth being mad about. No possible crime anyone can commit against another is worth the bitterness and anger it takes to hold a grudge. Charles Swindoll said something I remind myself of daily. He said, “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” Isn’t it such a better use of a lifetime to respond to things positively? I have found that the longer I hold a grudge, the longer it takes me to heal from the damage of the crime. I would much rather move on from something than be hardened to it forever.
I remember one time when I was about 5, I told a little boy in my pre-school class that he was stupid. Upon finding this out, my mom returned the brand new panties she had bought me that day to teach me a lesson. My mom also made me tell the boy that I was sorry for what I said. This is the first time I can ever remember having to ask for forgiveness for something I did. When I went to pre-school the next day, the boy readily accepted my apology, and even asked me to be his wife at snack time. How funny that a little boy understood forgiveness better than most adults. It’s about time we learn from him.
People will never stop hurting others. No amount of forgiveness can stop this, merely because humans are forever imperfect. I am not trying to rid the world of wrongdoing nor am I expecting that I will always be forgiven for things because I have forgiven others. I believe in forgiveness merely for the sake of myself. I try to shield myself as much as possible from wasting the little time I have on earth being bitter. Also, I believe in forgiveness to give others a second chance because I understand what it’s like to need one.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.