“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese
Sometimes it takes seeing ourselves in the shadows to know who we are. The shadows are where we don’t like to admit we hang out, but truthfully we all fall into them now and then.
I often spout the benefits of forgiveness. And forgive I do…but I’ve been known to allow anger to return and eat at me one thought at a time. It seemed I was able to forgive someone for having done something wrong to me, but I couldn’t let it go when that person did something wrong to someone I loved. I became so consumed with bitterness other things began to annoy me.
I didn’t like the way I was feeling or acting. I was torn between whether I felt the other person deserved to be forgiven or whether I deserved to be free of resentment. My head, heart, and priorities were totally in the wrong place. While I don’t want to condone ill behavior I also don’t want to let my feelings over it rule my life. By moving on I can focus on what truly matters.
Forgiveness expands us, makes us reach beyond our comfort zone. It takes incredible strength to forgive, to truly let it go without inviting it back for a visit. I must remember compassion starts with me, if I want mercy I must extend it to others. I pray I can be that kind of person.
Some consider forgiveness to be a selfless act, others a selfish act; truth is everyone wins. Perhaps, forgiveness is the ultimate gift of love, to yourself and the other person.