The lost art of forgiveness

By Josephine Cropper
In June 11, 2013
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Even if we recognise the need to forgive, sometimes we are tempted to say that it’s too hard; after all, we’re not saints. We are told in Ephesians 4.31 to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander.”

As children we were often made to say sorry even though that went against our feelings. So how do we move to a place of genuine heartfelt forgiveness?

When we are in a place of gentle forgiveness we are truly connected to our God source. We can be at peace with the world, and life flows for us. Forgiveness is not something that is talked about much in psychotherapy, but I believe it is a vital step in the healing process.

Forgiving is not the same as forgetting. It’s not about allowing people to do anything to you. Victims of abuse will clearly not forget the pain they suffered or the actions of another.  Let’s not confuse the wrongdoing of others with the need to move to a place of forgiveness in ourselves. There needs to be space to express anger first; then and only then can we begin to move to a place of healing and forgiveness.

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”
― Thomas Stephen Szasz

Forgetting is not forgiving. If we forget we are simply in denial and this can often lodge in our mind and body to catch us unawares. Think of a moment where someone suddenly rages and you think, “Where did all that come from?” This is denial. True forgiveness is a healing process. Lack of forgiveness – or even anger left stored in our bodies – may cause many issues both mental and sometimes physical.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
― Steve MaraboliUnapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

If we forgive we will ultimately forget as a result.

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