“Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free.” ~ Stormie Omartian
by Pete Ferguson
Looking back the dollar amount was not great – but at the time we were deeply in debt and needed the money badly. But it did not come.
For many months, I carried the weight of the issue around with me. I wanted revenge. I wanted things to be fair and to be set right.
“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” ~ Confucius
But eventually things did not turn out well for my neighbor and he went through a very dark period before finally coming through on the other side and restitution and rebuilding began.
Eventually my wife and I decided it wasn’t worth it to carry the weight any longer, and so we began the process of forgiveness – of letting go. It was hard at first, but we served them. I removed the snow from their sidewalks and driveway. Steph helped clean up their yard. All done in secret. A seemingly kind act of service, but it took longer for our hearts to mean it.
And eventually we felt the release and the peace. And we had forgiven.
“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
I self-administer poison each time I recount – and recant – the “evils” done to me. All the while often the person who offended me may be completely unaware of the damage done, while I waste hours, weeks, and years carrying a burden that I need not carry.
Tonight our neighbor’s son delivered a Christmas treat, with the words “love” and then their last name neatly printed on a tag atop the container.
Love can be used in a contrite manner – but in this case the feeling is mutual. And it struck me how well time and love heals wounds, and turns poison into fertilizer for much better things.
And I am grateful for the experience, and now know that I must not carry future burdens for so long before seeking to forgive and seeking forgiveness of others.
Great evils are committed in the world. They can wound us deeply. But when we refuse to forgive, we continue to self-adminster the hurt and the hate. We choose to allow the poison to set in deeper.
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
It may take time, but I hope for your sake it takes no longer than it ought to.
‘Tis the Season to Forgive.
All quotes from GoodReads.com