I believe in the power of forgiveness. To me, forgiveness is tied very closely to conflict. Conflict is something we as the human race experience throughout life so therefore we must experience forgiveness. Forgiveness also has a lot to do with emotions and most of the time our emotions are involved in almost everything in life. Forgiveness is about life. Sometimes it can be on a small scale and sometimes it can be on a very large one and can take lots of time and energy to do, just like a conflict can.
I guess I should start by saying what forgiveness to me actually means. The dictionary defines forgive as “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw or mistake.” To me, this definition does not really define forgive or forgiveness. Forgiveness to me is about understanding; understanding one’s self, understanding the conflict or situation and/or understanding the other person or parties involved. Forgiveness is looking at a situation or person and understanding, and making the choice to move on. It is a release of energy, usually negative energy that has been present within ourselves. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself and not someone else. However, forgiveness can make an impact outside of just one person.
Like I said earlier, forgiveness can be on a small scale or on a large scale. I have experienced pain, anger and emotional anguish in my life pertaining to my family and the environment that I grew up in. I have forgiven my parents for a lot. I am still working through some things. I know that my relationship and my feelings towards my family will change in a positive way by forgiving them. This is small stuff. Elie Weisel made a speech to Germany forgiving the Germans for the Holocaust. Some say this won’t do anything but I personally believe this is a huge step toward healing for the victims, offenders, countries, religious groups, etc. that were all greatly affected by this unfortunate event in human history. This is how forgiveness can have an impact on a much grander scale. One country forgiving another country. One neighbor forgiving another. No matter how big or small the impact, forgiveness gets rid of a lot of negative and makes room for the positive. It allows us to understand and to resolve. To be a forgiving person is a powerful thing and I am glad that I have the capability to do so.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.