Pondering: What Does Forgiveness Mean to You?

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Let's ponder about forgiveness today….

“I'm sorry.” Two tiny words that can mean so much or so little.

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller

Are you forgiving with your whole heart and letting go of the incident or saying that you are sorry to glaze over the issue? When you forgive someone are you letting go of the hurt and pain? If you don't truly forgive the hard feelings stay with you, linger and bubble up to the surface next time you are upset with someone.

Forgiveness is a huge concept and I thought one that would be great to touch on at the end of the year as we reflect upon our relationships with friends, co-workers, neighbors and family.

I would like to share four promises that you should make to yourself each time you ask forgiveness:

“I will not dwell on this incident.”
“I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.”
“I will not talk to others about this incident.”
“I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.”

These four promises seem so small and easy but I guarantee will take time to learn and enforce. Be kind and loving, foremost to yourself, by adapting this new level of forgiveness and lighten your heart. Stop carrying anger, past mistakes and grudges against others.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandi

Holding on to angry feelings hurts your relationships with others many times without you or them knowing. Be honest, share your feelings and move towards reconcilation in your heart as well as on your tongue.

“Forgive or relive” Unknown

Occasionally the instance arrives when, for a multitude of reasons, you cannot share your thoughts. Write them down, forgive this person and shred the letter remembering that the forgiveness is in your heart and mind. I love the note that I found that inspired this article, it reminded me that you might be angry but you still love the person that you are upset with. Being angry doesn't mean that you don't love someone.

I hope that you will find this helpful. Please share with me what you do to forgive and move on with a positive attitude.

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Based on the Four Promises of Forgiveness
Featured image found on Pinterest here.

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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  1. Beautiful sentiments to end our year with, Peg. TY. These reminders are so important. Holding onto anger is so self-destructive and so often we actually forget the reason we’re angry/upset altogether! Happy New Year to you Peg!

    1. Wonder how we can hold onto anger when we don’t remember the topic? Interesting, right? Our emotions and “need to be right” often cloud our more rational judgement.
      Thank you Mr. Sallan! So appreciate your support and friendship!

  2. I have family who have not talked to each other in years. When asked why, they cannot remember other than “it must have been something really bad”.

    It can be very difficult to really forgive someone until you realize that whatever their transgression, it was not done with malice. We all make mistakes, we all say things we don’t mean.

    Until I am perfect, I have to be willing to accept the imperfections of others.

    Happy New Year, Peggy.


    1. Thanks for sharing Marc!
      The family issues. We had the same in our family. My grandma was one of 11 children and one or two of her sisters were always in a fight and taking sides. My grandma never took sides and always loved everyone despite their flaws. I am so grateful for her example. She used to tell me that no good would come out of their fight and was never drawn into it.
      The perplexing thing is that you can stay angry and not remember why. And to be so stubborn to still stay mad even though your don’t know why you are mad seems silly, right?

  3. Great post, Peggy. I’m actually working on a lesson about forgiveness for my church. How timely! What do you think? Does forgiving mean forgetting? If so, should we forgive even those who have not asked for forgiveness. Some people aren’t sorry. Should they be forgiven?

    1. Well, I guess I wrote this for you then Doug! Have you seen the Four Promises? I have a card that I got at my church for them. I will attempt to answer your questions.

      Does forgiving mean forgetting? I think not. My Dad told me “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” I think you may not be able to forget but you can forgive and try not keep bringing up old things. (I hope my husband doesn’t read this, I just brought up something from 2 years ago – I am a work in progress, what can I say?)

      I do think that we should forgive people who don’t ask for forgiveness because we are the ones holding the anger inside. That being said, for me to have closure and feel better – I really need the “I’m sorry.”

      What do you think about forgiving people who aren’t sorry Doug?

      1. I don’t know. I’m kinda up in the air, but I’ll have to take some kind of position here in the next few weeks. LOL! On the one hand, you can look at forgiving an offense like forgiving a debt. Just because you forgive the debt, that doesn’t mean you have to lend to that person again. But, I’m not so sure the analogy fits. What does it actually mean to forgive? If you no longer trust the person, can you really say you’ve forgiven them? And, if they’re not sorry and don’t want forgiveness, you shouldn’t trust them, should you? And, if you say you’re forgiving them so that you don’t carry the bitterness inside, I don’t think that’s really forgiving them; I think it’s just washing your hands of them, severing the relationship, and not caring anymore.

        That being said, I’m kinda glossing over the point you’re making. When someone is truly sorry,

        1. forgiveness is imperative. I love your four promises and they can really help in mustering the strength to forgive. Forgiveness is hard. If it isn’t, it simply means that you were never really hurt in the first place.

          1. Good things to think about! See why I ponder these things…

            There isn’t a one-size-fits-all apology or way to forgive. I think it leads me back to the Golden Rule….I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I would like to be forgiven when I need to be and wouldn’t want past things brought up into the mix. The longer you are married, the more of these things there are so I guess working on being more forgiving is the way to go!

            Love to hear who your lesson turns out. Complicated and important topic!

        2. Forgiveness has never really been for the ones who committed the “deed” as we see it. It is all about how will we treat ourselves?

          Some misunderstand and think anytime we are good to ourselves we are selfish, as in it is a bad thing to be good to ones self.

          Self preservation is so important to “live” forgiveness.  Make no apologies for being good to you first.  How can you “be” who you want to be, if you focus on others first.

          So why does it matter if they want your forgiveness or not?

          It is all an inside job ( I know we hear that a lot) AND please sit with that statement long enough to let it really sink in.

          Here is what I know Doug, when someone exhibits a behavior I do not like, I ask the tough question-“Where is there a piece of me that feels this way inside?” We all have them.  When you are willing to experience radical examination, then you will find ways to forgive that piece inside you. 

          Guess what?  when you forgive that piece in you, what you see in the other person will shift.  Does not mean they will change, it means it will shift and if you forgave all YOU needed to around that topic, you will not notice it in your world. (Yes, sometimes we need to forgive in layers, we see them a piece at a time) Hence, why some think forgiveness does not work, they only got one layer.

          Great thinking Peg.

          1. That’s deep stuff, Michele. I understand the idea of “forgiving” others to release the bitterness from within yourself. I agree tharlt is certainly a good thing. I’m just trying to reconcile the ideas of forgiveness and trust. If you say that you’ve forgiven someone but do not trust them in the future because of the fact that they wronged you before, have you really forgiven them? That’s my hang-up…just can’t seem to resolve this dilemma 🙂

          2. Thanks for adding your thoughts to to discussion Michele, it is really interesting to hear how others think about things as we process and grow.

  4. Thanks for those thoughts Jessica! We were talking about this right before I wrote so I am glad you liked the post.

    I really try to present a solution and a positive plan of action. I am far from perfect but I am continually looking to improve myself and the lives of my friends and family.
    Thanks for being fab Jess!!

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