So, what is it? When I looked it up in the dictionary, the definition states that it is the “act of forgiving” or “state of being forgiven.” This is so broad and just reuses the word in the definition. So, huh, what is forgiveness?
I then looked up the synonyms of the word forgiving: lenient, magnanimous, and merciful. Okay, we are getting a little closer to the definition.
The teacher in me needed to look up the definitions of the words to give me more clarity.
Lenient is defined as being tolerant, permissive, and/or indulgent. When I think about forgiveness, I don’t think of myself as totally tolerant, but I do think of giving myself permission to begin forgiving the person.
Magnanimous is generous; forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness. All right, I don’t want to be vindictive towards my mom. I just want to share my story to help myself and others. So, we are getting closer to finding out what is forgiveness.
When you are merciful, you are compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender. As a result of me showing my mom mercy for the last three years of life, I was actually forgiving her for not always being there for me.
I’m on the brink of discovering what forgiveness means but at the same time am unsure of what it really means. Or how to do I as a flesh and bone human demonstrate forgiveness.
So, I went to the Bible. In the Bible, we learn that it means to pardon the person who hurt us. We are to cancel their debt towards us. We do it as an act of love, mercy, and grace.
It is important for us to forgive the other person for our mental state then for the person who offended us. It’s a way for us to move on with our lives. We are not to necessarily forget the offense, but to learn from it.
After you forgive someone, it does not mean you have to go back to being friends or whatever you were to them. Their behavior that offended you might continue on, so you need to set boundaries or stop all contact with them.
It’s not going to be easy to forgive people, but for your sake you need to do it.
An Example from my own Life
Back in 1996, I had to make the decision to forgive my father. He had done some terrible things to me that no child should have ever had to endure. Why? I had to move on with my life. If not, I would probably not been able to love Hubby.
I was planning to actually go see him in the nursing home. He died before I could say face-to-face “I have not forgotten, nor will I forget how horrible you were to me. However, I am releasing all the power you have over me.”
He ended up dying 23 years ago on November 13.
Back to the Bible
So what does the Bible say about forgiveness? Why is important?
Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Hebrews 12: 14-15 – 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Basically, we are told to forgive; because, God has forgiven us by sending his one Son to die on the Cross for our sins.
We are also told to forgive because we cannot allow others to control our lives because of our hurt feelings and emotions.
I’m dealing with a lot of hurt.
Join me on my journey of forgiving my mom. She hurt me until right before she died. I have a feeling she knew that she was very sick and didn’t want me to know. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I need to forgive her for not trusting me to tell me the truth.
Yes, I might have taken her to the hospital. She might have been able to spend more time with me because she would have gotten the medical help she needed.
That’s only one way she has offended me in my lifetime. It’s important for me to forgive her so that I can be free from the anger I’m feeling.
As I said, join me on the journey towards forgiveness.