I can think of at least three reasons, why forgiveness is an important practice to incorporate into our lives.
First, forgiveness is essential for relationships to flourish.
When we approach others from the view that people should always get what they deserve when they do wrong, it sets us up for failure. It’s that instead of repairing relationships, we will be busy repaying all the time, and since we can’t possibly make up for all our mistakes, we just dig ourselves into a bottomless pit. By contrast, taking a forgiveness approach frees us to get past the drudgery of debt, so people can start fresh. We still make an effort to make things right, but the emphasis is on healing, not revenge.
Second, forgiveness initiates healing for painful memories.
When we feel hurt, is it commonplace that we demonize the other person and see ourselves as purely a victim. Forgiveness puts things in perspective. By forgiving, we begin to see others are more than the hurt they caused, and ourselves as more than what was done to us. We still feel some hurt, but how we remember and imagine that person begins to change.
Third, forgiveness frees us from the resentment trap.
St Augustine once said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and then expecting the person who wronged you to die. He’s right. When we refuse to forgive, we become resentful. That word literally means to relive again. The hurt gets relived over and over because we refuse to let go. By contrast, when we forgive, we release ourselves from resentment, and while we may still feel anger and sadness, the other person’s actions are no longer controlling our present day mindset.
Attend my Free Seminar on Forgiveness!
If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate forgiveness into your own life, then you are invited to attend my free seminar entitled Practical Steps to Forgiveness (also entitled Forgiveness: Divine and Human) on Friday, October 30th, @ 7:00pm at the University of Guelph, UC room 442. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will be hosting the event on campus. You can also follow the Facebook Event Page here. I look forward to seeing you!