We have all heard that forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. There is freedom for us and for the other – whether or not they are even present to receive the offering of forgiveness. By forgiving, we set ourselves free of the pain of the memory(ies) and open space in our hearts for more love.
This quote from an article I read really made me pause.
“Forgiveness is not dependent on the action of others. The problem is that the strings we attach to the gift of forgiveness become the chains that bind us to the person who harmed us. Those are chains to which the perpetrator holds the key. We may set the conditions for granting our forgiveness, but the person who harmed us decides whether or not the conditions are too onerous to fulfill. We continue to be that person’s victim.”
Later in the same article, this.
“The invitation to forgive is an invitation to finding healing and peace. Forgiveness opens the door to peace between people and opens the space for peace within each person. The victim cannot have peace without forgiving. The perpetrator will not have genuine peace while unforgiven. There cannot be peace between victim and perpetrator while the injury lies between them. The invitation to forgive is an invitation to search out the perpetrator’s humanity. When we forgive, we recognize that there, but for the grace of God, go I.”
Whether the perpetrator is another or it is us – upon ourselves or another – forgiveness frees us.
Sometimes, as was the case in this article, the perpetrator is no longer living. Sometimes, we believe that since he/she is no longer living and/or the act which requires forgiveness happened so long ago, that forgiveness isn’t necessary. Yet, we carry the burden of the pain. This one, I know.
Forgiveness is healing for us – even if the perpetrator is no longer living. This one, I feel.
There are many meditation practices for forgiving and releasing the chains of attachment to a past experience. These can be especially helpful if the perpetrator is no longer living or is not within reach.
What are you still carrying that might benefit from a forgiving release?
“Forgiveness is truly the grace by which we enable another person to get up, and get up with dignity, to begin anew.”
And sometimes, that person is us. Forgiveness can open the door to beginning again. And isn’t that what life is all about?
Beginning again, with an open heart, living our highest and best as we live our purpose.
We are not alone in this. Guess who is always with you and can help you free yourself?
image downloaded from the Internet, 3/8/2014.
quotes in this post are from an article in the March/April edition of Spirituality and Health magazine, written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho A.Tutu.