The Gift of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves...my guest to the blog today, Margaret Norton, shares her thoughts on this subject.  Margaret is a writer, speaker, personal life coach, and It Works! distributor. She is running a blog comment and Twitter contest in February to coordinate with the re-release of her book, When Ties Break, and turning 60! For more information and to enter the contest to win a free life coaching session or copy of her memoir, please see the end of this post.




Words from the Heart. What a wonderful name for a blog! Like Linda, I too am fascinated by words. I’m amazed at how careless we are when speaking to others – especially those we love. The spoken word has the power to help or hurt – all too often it is used to hurt. Relationships are damaged and lives are changed as a result of the words we speak. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes, all you need to do is offer an apology. But for many individuals, this is as difficult as the thought of donating a kidney. 
   
As we approach Valentine’s Day, reminders of love are everywhere. Love is not always easy, certainly isn’t perfect. I’ve never understood why we mistreat those we love. But, through the years, I’ve learned the importance of forgiveness. This did not come easy for me, but life is much better now that I try to practice the act of forgiveness. These are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
 
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. When you harbor angry feelings against someone it festers inside you like poison. Many times the other person never admits any wrong doing or never asks for forgiveness. People react differently to hurt and some wrongs are more painful than others. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong – people are entitled to their feelings.  

Not forgiving someone prevents you from having a fulfilling relationship with them. You might feel like you are getting them back by not forgiving but you are only hurting yourself. For the Christian, forgiveness is expected. Christ said we are to love our enemies and forgive those who mistreat us. We are to forgive someone not seven times but seventy-seven times.
 
We should always try to forgive others but forgetting is extremely difficult. We can forgive the people who hurt us the deepest but often events trigger our memories. That’s normal. The memory is not a reason to remind them of how bad they hurt us, but rather a reminder to us to set boundaries. We should forgive those who mistreat us but not allow them to continue hurting us. You can learn to forgive others, while keeping them at a safe distance. Forgiveness is never easy, but it is a behavior we can cultivate and it is always worth the effort.
  • People don’t always deserve forgiveness
  • People don’t usually ask for our forgiveness
  • We can’t continue blaming our parents or others for our problems
  • We must take responsibility for our own lives
  • Forgiveness is the ultimate gift we give someone else, yet it benefits us the most
  • Forgiveness is not a license for bad/abusive behavior to continue
  • We must learn to set boundaries to prevent others from hurting us
  • For the Christian, forgiveness is not an option, it is a command
 
Leave a comment on this post to enter into Margaret’s Celebrate 60 Blog Tour Contest. Margaret is celebrating her 60th birthday by giving away three grand prizes: a 30-minute FREE life coaching session (by phone—for U.S. residents only), her memoir in paperback (for U.S. residents only), and her memoir in e-book (for anyone!) format. 

Each blogger participating in the tour will randomly select one winner from all the comments and enter that name into the grand prize drawing. Margaret will contact the three grand prize winners for their choice of prize the week of 2/27 and announce winners on her blog on March 2. 

***For extra entries into the contest, please tweet about the contest, using the hashtag #Celebrate60 OR tweet about why you love being the age you are! (Don’t forget to use the hashtag.) Anyone who tweets with #Celebrate60 will get an extra entry into the contest for the three grand prizes. Any questions? E-mail Margo, Margaret’s publicist, at margo@margodill.com

Comments

Margo Dill said…
Great post, Margaret. I was just thinking about this subject last night during the Grammys when everyone was tweeting and saying terrible things about Chris Brown. No one can condone the way he treated Rhianna when they were together, but apparently, she has worked through it and forgiven him. Possibly he has worked through his demons, too, but no one knows for sure. The point is people were saying TERRIBLE things on Twitter last night, and it made me so sad. I finally tweeted, "Forgiveness can make the powerful powerless." People who we are hating and holding a grudge against have so much power over our lives. One gift of forgiveness is it takes the power away from the person who hurt us. This comment is all over the place, but I think it is such a timely topic. Thanks, Margaret and Linda!
Eliza said…
Hi Margaret. Great post. I have a slightly different take on forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a gift we give others so much as it is a gift we give ourselves. By forgiving, we are letting go of anger, pain and resentment. We are not responsible for how other people learn and grow by looking at their own misdeeds. We are responsible for cutting them free from our negativity towards them, through forgiveness, so they have space to learn and grow IF they choose to do so. More importantly we have grown in the process.
Eliza said…
Oh, me again. HA HA! You did say it was a gift to yourself. We are on the same page. I was zeroing in on other aspects of your post. Focus, Eliza, focus! :)
Dear Margo,

How sad that people have so much to say about the lives of others, huh?! I have always believed that until you have walked a mile in the other person's shoes, you have no clue what their life is like and cannot judge.
What you tweeted was wonderful and wise. Hopefully others will take the time to read, digest and consider what you said.
Blessings! Linda
Dear Eliza,

Sometimes it is hard to focus...but I am glad you saw that Margaret had said that. This is what I believe, also.

I know that in my life forgiving others for the hurt and pain they gave me lifted my spirits higher than I could have expected. Suddenly seeing abusive parents as dear souls unable to cope for lack of the tools to deal with what life handed them, created space for me to have an adult relationship with both of them before they died. What a blessing!

Thanks for the visit...Love you!
Susan Scott said…
When someone says they are sorry and asks you to forgive them, it would be 'wise' to ask them what they are sorry for. That person needs to articulate the hurt they have caused. Too often people say they are really very sorry but it is a catch phrase.
Forgive is powerful .. it releases negative energy to be used more constructively.

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