Forgiving someone for doing some harm to you, physically, emotionally or spiritually is a very hard thing for us to do. When someone harms us, we automatically shore up our defenses against him or her to prevent any further hurt. We refuse to let them back in until we return the favor and give them some semblance of the pain that we ourselves have received.
However, is this proper action for us to take? Should we give pain back for the pain that we received? Who is the scale keeper for the payback? You, they or anyone for that matter? When is it okay to forgive those that have wronged us?
Maybe we must first discuss what forgiveness is. It is one’s ability to let go of harm done and relinquishing a sense of injured entitlement. When one forgives we release ourselves from resentment and bitterness and we allow ourselves to reclaim our energy from the one that harmed us and regain our sense of balance.
Yes, many times we feel that we can never forgive without propitiation or remorse from the one who wronged us; however, the power of forgiveness lies not with them but with you. Forgiveness is not found in the actions or attitudes of another but within you.
When we speak the truth and take steps to protect ourselves helps us to move past the hurt while at the same time we must try to understand the person that has harmed us. Just the act of understanding the person, their feelings, external pressures and frailties the easier it becomes for us to forgive, right or wrong.
The Bible, in Exodus 21:23, instructs us to “give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” to punish an offender. However, more than 2,000 years later, Martin Luther King Jr., responded, “The old law of ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.”
Forgiveness does not mean that you agree with or condone whatever has been done. It means that you no longer choose to let those past actions hold you back.
In the end, once we forgive, as victims, we get the best of both worlds of sorts.