It’s a natural outgrowth of Empathy b/c the foundation of Forgiveness is Understanding. Understanding that We’re all works on progress & that no one’s sum totality should be defined solely by their past deeds or mistakes.
Forgiveness is not an event, nor is it an act or a feeling. It’s a Process that requires time, effort, & patience. I believe it was Pastor Steve Furtick who gave this good piece on it, “Forgiveness means no longer living in the offense, no longer being held to the offense, no longer being a victim to the offense; but letting go in order to heal.”
Knowing all this doesn’t make it easy to apply though. None of Us can KNOW the thoughts, struggles, or circumstances a person was dealing with when he/she did what they did (said what they said). That means We really don’t have all of the necessary information to judge, label, or condemn that person forever.
By the same token, if We don’t dig deep & discover the Honest motives behind Our own decisions, how can We condemn Our Selves to a lifetime of guilt & self-pity?? What caused Us to feel a certain way? Why did We make those poor decisions? These questions help open up the door to Change. As We change Our way of Thinking, everything else begins to evolve as well.
We change how We speak, act, & live Our lives. This shift in Reality means that We’re no longer those individuals who committed the past acts. If U are not that person, then why would U hold the burden of the misdeeds that person did? If U are no longer that individual, why continue to punish Ur self? The person responsible has paid the price, & continues to pay it by being laid to rest. U, as the new Man/Woman must now make amends by living Honorably, never repeating the same patterns or behavior.
Decisions & situations We bring about are either mistakes or lessons, depending on how We move forward. If We learn from it & it no longer repeats itself, then it’s a lesson; helping Us to grow stronger, wiser, & more Compassionate when other people “mess up.”
Forgiveness, whether for self or others, makes room in Our lives for Peace, Joy, Success, & Progress! Its how We move closer to becoming Who We were born to be. We can’t fulfill Our Purposes by holding on grudges, wrath, vengeance, shame, or guilt. Those are anchors keeping Us stuck in the past. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or denying something happened. Rather it’s the process of transforming that anchor into an engine; allowing the past to push Us to be better & stronger, fueling Self-Improvement!
If U don’t believe that U deserve Forgiveness, U’ll never be able to Forgive others.