Friday, May 27, 2011

Forgiveness Is A Beautiful Thing

Anyone who knows me well, has heard me use the phrase, "Forgiveness is a beautiful thing."  I am not quite sure when I started saying it, or how I came up with it.  I am not even altogether sure I didn't read or hear it somewhere and take it on as my own.  What I am sure of is that I believe it...strive to live it...cling to it during any dark moments, days, times. 

Forgiveness. 

Just read the word out loud.  It is a beautiful word.  Just speaking it makes me feel more peaceful. 


Forgiveness is complicated.  It is never as simple as just forgiving yourself or someone else.  I believe forgiveness is grace in action.  You have to want to do it, and if you have to do it without any hope or (end game) goal that it will be reciprocated.  Huh?  Yeah, that is the part that gets skipped in Sunday School.  Forgiveness isn't for the one being forgiven....forgiveness is for the one doing the forgiving.  Disagree?  That is okay.  I don't mind.  This is my belief, and my belief only.  I will say this though....THIS is something I have had a lot of practice in....believe me.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smeedes

When you are little, your parents instruct you to forgive someone who took your toy.  You both say you are sorry, force hugs, and then you both go off to play together another day.  Somewhere along the line, life gets more complicated...and you guessed it, so does forgiveness.  It is no longer, I forgive you, you forgive me, and we are all happy together once again.  It becomes more dramatic with gossip and whispering and who is on whose side and who said what when and where.  Finally after months or years, there is some resolution and things are peaceful once again.  Sometimes those peaceful days never again darken the door because too much damage has been done, too many lies and hurt feelings.  You might forgive, but you are no longer interested in going back to that well to set yourself up again for more hurt.  The whole pearls after swine so to speak.

"Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.” ~ Oscar Wilde

I am always amazed at others lack of tolerance for forgiveness, or their lack of capacity for it.  I am always disappointed in my own lack of forgivessness of others.  More than all of these, the lack of my ability and others to forgive myself or themselves is the most painful to experience and to observe.  Why is it easier to forgive others than it is ourselves? 

I have struggled with forgiveness my whole life.  I either forgave too much or too little...and for years, I would NOT forgive myself for anything.  Driven perfectionism...ugh.  There is a book series that changed my life, and I have given it to many others.  It is called "Search for Significance"; it is amazing.  Through it I was able to recognize that it is best to find your value through God's eyes...no one else's (not even your own...sometimes especially not your own), and that once you do that...it is much easier to forgive the sins of the past...yours and others. 

There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” ~ Bryant McGill

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.  Yet, forgiveness doesn't mean you keep going back to the well over and over to get put upon, etc.  Sometimes forgiveness simply means you forgive and move on.  Forgiveness is also not a one time event.  It is an ongoing act....the gift that keeps on giving.  I have had people or things "pop up" in my life that bring back stuff, and I have to take a moment and forgive them, or it, all over again.  It happens...but then you forgive again...and you move on.  I know it might sound nuts, but over time it does get easier and easier.  Trust me.

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Catherine Ponder

I am so grateful (and glad) for forgiveness in my life.  I am grateful to a forgiving God, a forgiving family and forgiving friends.  I am also grateful that I have learned forgiveness in my own life...and that the learning is not over...God continues to give me practice.  I am SO grateful (okay...I am rolling my eyes a little).  We all mess up.  It is not our failures that define us.  It is our grace and forgiveness...our strength and our love.  These are the things that ulitmately will define our lives.  God is willing to forgive it all?  Are you?  Am I?

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

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

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