What is forgiveness? The Webster’s New World Dictionary provides 3 meanings for the word forgive:
1. To give up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry with, pardon
2. To give up all claim to punish or exact penalty for an offense; to overlook
3. To cancel or remit a debt.
This may tell us what it means to forgive, but it doesn’t address why we would want to forgive. In her blog, Christina White responded to the question, “ What advice would you give to us as GIFT coaches and the parents with whom we work?” with the following:
Moving on is all about forgiving. Oprah said it best, “Forgiveness does not mean you have to accept the person back into your life. It does not mean you are condoning their behavior or that you are in any way saying that it was “ok.” Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different so you don’t hold on to wishing that you had a different kind of family. You let that go, and you move forward with the Grace that God has given you from this day on. I don’t want the spirit of me to die because of what you did.”
As Christina states, forgiving allows us to get out of our muck of anger, resentment, desire to punish and pay back so we can move forward. Nothing can change if we are stuck. To create the happy life we want for our families and children, we must forgive those who have hurt us, our children and ourselves. The past cannot be changed, but any feelings, regrets, resentments or wishes about the past can be changed. Forgiveness is not about the other person, it is about freeing us of negative energy associated with the person and not allowing that person to have control over our feelings and behaviors. Forgiveness provides the freedom to live in peace.