My Musings – “Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.” ― Fred Rogers. Yesterday, my family and I went to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks. It is a wonderful movie, more a lesson on forgiveness than it is a biopic of a truly remarkable man.
Forgiveness is the conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed (real or imagined) you, regardless of whether you believe they actually deserve your forgiveness. Interestingly enough, right there in the middle of the word forgiveness is another very important word – give. To give means to freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone). Freely, means no strings attached. No conditions. No “quid pro quo.” No, I’ll forgive you if. No, I’ll forgive you but. I forgive you, period. Even if I have to do it “seventy-seven times.“
Strangely enough, the giving is as much a gift to oneself as it is a gift to the one that we are forgiving. For holding onto feelings of resentment and vengeance is a terrible burden for one to bear. Refusing to forgive consumes us. And the longer that we withhold it, the harder our hearts become, and the tighter we hold onto the very thing that we so desperately need to let go.
My Advice – It was a delightful movie. A welcome change from so many movies about vengeance and getting even. For you really never can get even, because you end up losing a big part of yourself when you refuse to forgive.
What am I thankful for this special season of Thanksgiving? Many, many things. But most of all for a Savior who paid the ultimate price for forgiveness. We can never sufficiently show our gratitude for that, but we still need to do what we can by “paying it forward.” Is there someone you need to forgive? Before another day goes by, let go of that terrible burden you are carrying. “As far as it depends on you,” make every effort to restore the relationship. For each day that otherwise passes, allows the roots of bitterness to grow deeper into the soil of your soul. For “the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.” As time goes by, the ability and capacity lessens.