What Does “Forgiveness” look like?

Forgiveness is a word with many emotions, definitions, and actions.  Webster defines forgiveness as “to cease to feel resentment against” – a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you regardless of whether they actively deserve forgiveness. 

As individuals, we have our own ideas of forgiveness and the life we breathe into it. Our worldview, our environment, our religious background and upbringing plays a huge role in what wrongs us and how we respond to everyday situations. What offends us, what hurts us is relative to each individual and each response is unique. There are also levels of hurt. A crime, an illness that ends tragically, a family feud or a country invading another country are just a spec of sand in a world of hurt that every person encounters and lives with and wants justice. The list goes on of how we hurt each other whether it is intentional or not - we live with a heavy burden on our backs weighing us down till there is nothing more than living in constant anger and resentment.  It is natural to want vengeance, an apology, and or justice in some form and that day may never come. 

At the end of it all, that hurt we live with affects us internally, emotionally and others around us. We live in a broken and very hurt world.  The only way to overcome is to listen more, understand more, and be more flexible with how we deal with life and what it throws our way. No one is above problems. The one thing “we the people” all have in common is that we are in conflict with someone or something in life and it is in our power to reflect on how WE can be better and make it better.  So what does forgiveness look like to you? It might look different to someone else. So, reflect, take action, start practicing, start listening and be at peace with oneself.

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