How easy is it truly to forgive others for things done to you? Depending on your spiritual background, you are supposed to forgive others and forgive yourself on a regular basis. I started my spiritual journey as a Christian, raised in the church, and this is what I was taught from a very young age. When I was little the first thing I would think is “Why should I forgive them for hurting me?” It was always a question that I had unanswered in my mind because I did not understand the real meaning of forgiveness.
Matthew 6:14-15 reads as follows:
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Once I found this passage, it became easier to understand the concept of WHY I should forgive others; however, I still did not understand exactly HOW to do that. It has still been a challenge, I am not perfect. To truly forgive someone though you have to be able to let go of the hurt and the pain associated with the trauma/situation. Take an abuse victim for example; they have constantly been hurt either physically, verbally, or mentally and still have to be able to forgive their abuser. That is if they want to begin healing, according to the Bible verse.
A lot of things are easier said than done, so HOW do you do it? For me, it is a process that I have changed over the years. I have tried to tell a person I forgive them for hurting me and have learned that telling them only confuses them. They ask more questions about why you are forgiving them and it re-opens the wounds you already closed. I have tried forgiving others and learned only later that I really did not when I see them again.
I have come to discover recently that forgiveness is all for you to do just for yourself. It is a covenant between you and God (or The Creator depending on your preference). It is only for you as an individual. We should all practice forgiveness, but I have found that it is best to not publicize your forgiveness of others. Most times they do not even feel they need to be forgiven and that is never a debate you want to get into if you are working on healing.
How do you forgive?