My friend, Bill Hamilton, has a weekly post he does and each week, as part of his post, he chooses a word of the week to discuss. In this post, Bill tackled “forgiveness.” How important it was and how difficult it can be to forgive. A wonderful part of Bill’s blog is the interaction between his readers and Bill. Bill encourages dialogue and it makes it one of the most interesting aspects of his blogging.
Bill and I got to chatting in the comments about exactly what forgiving does for you. I thought some of you might be interested:
July 24, 2014 at 9:17 pm
Late to comment, this is another good one, Bill. I cannot recall if it was mentioned, but forgiveness actually helps your health. That baggage of grudges and anger we drag around with us attracts more of the same until it physically manifests in some illness in the body. It is easy to confuse that forgiveness is for the one who caused the injury. No, it is for the one who suffered the perceived injury. A quick funny story: I was driving with my Mom and very angry with my boss. She said something softly about forgiveness and maybe praying that he receive something good, something he wanted. I was incredulous. “What?! I don’t want him to be happy, Mom!” She glanced over at me, meeting my eyes. “Well, no one said you have to mean it….” Grin.
July 25, 2014 at 7:34 am
Hunt, I do not believe I specifically addressed that, and I should have. I may have made an off hand comment but without looking I don’t believe I did, you are making a great point. The act of forgiving and getting that baggage off your shoulders does in fact have a great impact on your health. I have read countless stories over time how the good nature of a person has helped the prevail when ill, and I can’t help but think that my overall good attitude has prolonged my life at a better quality of life as much as the doctors care I have received. Hunt, I love that story, I may have to figure out a way to steal that punch line for a post. Take care, Love Bill
July 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm
Laughter, steal away, Bill. I thought about this after I had posted my comment – I think we confuse forgiveness with forgetting. The act of forgiveness is not an act of forgetting. You remember, but you remember without the sting or poison affecting you. That is the difference.
July 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm
Hunt, I agree totally with your assessment. And I realize there in lies my problem sometimes I can’t remember without the sting. That is what I am having difficulty doing with particular instances, particular actions, I want to forget the sting, the poison, the pain, so I can forgive, but for some things I haven’t got there yet. Take care, Bill
July 25, 2014 at 5:02 pm
See, you want to forget to forgive. Doesn’t work that way. You don’t forget, Bill. But once you are able to forgive, the memory loses its self-driven power to poison. There’s a strategy I use to work on forgiveness – I look to see where I benefited (– this can take some time, admittedly). God always turns what was meant to harm you to something good, so I look to see the benefit.
And then I snatched and copied to create a post here, so Bill has not had a chance to reply.
I should premise or add that I believed wholeheartedly in the right of revenge in my younger days, say right up until about 1976, which would make me age 21. Huh, see I would have written about age 30. I am surprised I was so young… (grin!) I got involved in something we called The Revenge Wars. … I was a person who could hold a grudge better than just about anybody I knew. It helped that I had a photographic memory because then
you can I could play the cause over and over in your my mind, writing anger on your my heart at whatever dirty deed had been perpetrated upon you me. It came about that someone hurt my feelings, I responded to that hurt in a way he felt was an escalation. He, of course, retaliated and went way overboard. At which point, I declared war. …. I might tell that story one day. He agreed that I won hands down. I won because I crossed a line in the sand. Now, everybody, including him (after much reflection) agreed he deserved it. But I learned something that day. Anybody can have revenge if they are willing to let go of restraint. I knew his vulnurability(ies) and I chose one that fit the crime. And, in my defense, I did maintain some ethics while executing it, but not much. I got my revenge – it was very clever, well strategized and very well executed. I learned my own strength that day. It’s hard to verbalize what that did, except to say I never felt the need to take revenge again. Maybe because I knew I could do it. I’d like to think it was from some spiritual shift, but it wasn’t.
I started with the act of forgiveness and went straight on over to revenge. Resentments, anger marks the wearer not the doer. The best revenge in life is living well. Not allowing the power of one person to dominate your thoughts, your heart, your blood, your time here on earth. I like to think of my life as an ongoing, evolving story. Something that happens to me in Chapter 5 may not see resolution until Chapter 9, 15 or 21. But having been here for 59 years, I can tell you you will see it handled. It might not be what you picture as justice, but most of us cannot read what matters most in the hearts of others, so if the idea of justice is for that person to hurt as much as they hurt you, leave it to God. He/She/It knows exactly how to deliver justice. … Just a thought.