Forgiveness: We Have a Choice

Christophers News Notes, July 1979
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Without forgiveness, there is resentment or guilt. Instead of human fellowship, there are separate prisons.

We have a choice: We can stay where we are or we can give or ask for forgiveness.

  • Forgiveness is a decision. It is not a feeling. A decision to forgive is a first step.
     
  • Forgiveness is showing mercy even when the injury has been deliberate. The challenge is not in forgiving when there is an excuse for what was done, but in forgiving when there is none.
     
  • Forgiveness is accepting the person as is. It is letting go of judgments. People can begin to deepen relationships if they forgive each other continually for not being equal to their expectations.
     
  • Forgiveness is taking a risk. It is making myself vulnerable. To renew my commitment to someone who betrayed my trust is to trust myself to handle being hurt again.
     
  • Forgiveness is a way of living. It is developing a readiness to forgive: by pardoning others for the little daily hurts and annoyances, by pardoning ourselves for small things, too.
     
  • Forgiveness is choosing to love. Forgiveness is the first skill of self-giving love. It takes the hurts, acknowledges the problem, accepts the person and loves in the direction of resolving the situation.
     
  • Forgiveness is not sentimental, not condescending, not righteous. Above all, it is not conditional.