When you forgive someone, you not only give them one gift, but you also get three gifts in return.
The Gift you Give to Them:
- You give the other person freedom to make their own choices. Remember the Golden Rule? “Treat people like you want to be treated.” No one wants to feel forced or manipulated into making a decision or doing something they don’t want to. You may not agree with all their choices, but you must grant them permission to choose for themselves. Remember to, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” Ask yourself the question, “How do I want others to treat me when I fail or make a mistake?”Don’t forgive part-way, forgive completely.
(taken from Randall Caselman, “Forgiving One Another”)
- I’ll forgive, but let them suffer a bit.
- I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.
- I’ll forgive, but it better not happen again.
- I’ll forgive, but you don’t deserve it.
- I’ll forgive this, but I can’t forgive that.
The Gifts you Give to Yourself:
- You set yourself free from negative emotions. You set yourself free from the damaging emotions of worry, anger, bitterness, resentment, fear, etc. The longer you wait, the harder it is to forgive. Your emotions can intensify and make an issue seem larger over time. Negative emotions can take hold of your heart, blur your perspective, and impact your behavior. When we don’t forgive we hurt ourselves and the people around us. “Hurting people, hurt people.” Our thoughts and emotions influence our actions and decisions. Don’t let out-of-control emotions dictate your behavior. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
- You free yourself from the high standard of perfection. If you hold others to a high standard of perfection, you also have to hold yourself to the same standard. Trying to maintain an image of perfection can be exhausting. By letting go of perfection you give yourself permission to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. You may not struggle in the same area as others, but don’t point out the speck in someone else’s eye when you have a plank in your own eye. Instead of judging others, it would be better to invest your energy and focus on improving yourself. One definition of forgiveness is “to cause someone to forget their shame.” You not only do this for others, but also for yourself. When you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free — only to discover the prisoner you set free is yourself.” Don’t let your un-forgiveness hold you captive.“If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
- You give God freedom to work in your life and make things better. You cannot do this alone; allow God to help you. By surrendering yourself and the outcome of the situation to God, you allow God to work on your behalf. You allow Him to change you on the inside. You trust God to intervene and work in the other person. When others see positive changes in you, your behavior and good attitude can influence them to do the same. You set a positive example for others to follow.Let Go and Let God!
“Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.” (Oscar Wilde)
“There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” (Josh Billings)
Do something positive for yourself today! Give yourself the gift of forgiveness.