Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
Forgiveness can be tricky. As Phil Sandoval mentioned on his show today, there are many internal and external components of forgiveness and suffering, and it is often difficult to let go of the resentment that accompanies a deep wound.
During his show, Phil mentioned an article by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation that referred to forgiveness as the art of releasing resentment. The article makes some great points about the art of forgiveness such as:
- Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgetting the history of our own lives or the world risks having those injustices repeated and forming a cycle of abuse.
- Authentic forgiveness takes time.
- Our ability to forgive cannot depend on the reactions or actions of another.
- Understanding that we are more than our transgressions can help us see past the transgressions of others.
- It is important to determine what role you or other factors may have played in a situation. Seeing a situation from another’s perspective can help to build healthier relationships.
- Forgiveness frees us of the burden of resentment. Resentment weighs us down and keeps us from living a full and joyful life.
- True forgiveness takes hard work and contemplation. It is practiced one day at a time, and one experience at a time.
The final word from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation:
Healthy forgiveness is not the simple, hasty “I’m sorry” that we were taught to say whenever our parents demanded that response. Real forgiveness is hard and contemplative work that we practice one day at a time, one experience at a time. It is a path to healing and serenity that begins and ends with compassion for ourselves and our feelings. Perhaps rather than “forgive and forget,” our new adage should become “forgive and live.”