By: Diana Sánchez (Translated by Allison Párraga)
We live in a world where we deal with people who are not always easy to get along with
How many times are we surprised by offensive behavior or mistreatment from family members and others close to us?
Even when we have worked on our character, there will always be someone who does something or says something that bothers us or makes us feel bad, that certain person who – no matter what he or she does – makes us angry and/or resentful.
That is why it is so difficult to love our neighbor and at the same time forgive those who hurt us, because it is difficult for us to heal our pain, to heal our open wounds. It is difficult for us to look into the face of someone who for whatever reason has decided to hurt us. It is difficult for us to understand how someone could enjoy being unkind to another person. It hurts us to see how someone could harbor pure hatred toward another human being without wanting to correct it.
I believe forgiveness has no time limit. It is something that anyone can do. We must forgive, and on many occasions we believe we are capable of forgiving. But do we forgive those who have offended, hurt, mistreated and even humiliated us?
These words are from someone who has spent sleepless nights as a result of not forgiving. But everything changed when I one day realized that I could forgive ALL of the bad things done to me. So, come on, what are you waiting for? Write or call that person that has been so difficult to forgive.
WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?
To forgive is to have the ability to not hold a grudge or be resentful toward someone who hurt us. It is to forget the damage done without asking for or demanding compensation for what they did to us. Forgiveness is based on sincere love, because:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.” (Corinthians 13:4-5)
I know it is difficult to forgive, much more when it concerns someone who has hurt us deeply. But it is necessary because, when we forgive, we are healing ourselves. We are cleansing our inner self of the harmful feelings that are unhealthy. This is very important.
The act of forgiving not only liberates he who has harmed us but also liberates us. Forgiving is not something we necessarily do for the other, but is something that may naturally arise from us.
Many may be reluctant to forgive because they believe it opens them up to further harm. They may think that the other person must pay for what he/she has done and that they do not deserve to be forgiven. Forgiveness, however, is a selfish act. It is a favor we do for ourselves. The ability to forgive is a sign of emotional intelligence.
The Buddha said that to hold on to anger is “… like a man who seizes with both hands glowing live coals or dung in order to strike another man therewith, but who first burns and befouls himself.”
UNRESTRAINED LOVE LEADS TO FORGIVENESS
It is said that anger is the opposite of love, that it is the denial of the existence of love in our lives. Love is in you, in me and in everyone. Let us ask ourselves how many times in life we have felt uncomfortable feelings of anger and rage because we have been unable to forgive and to unburden ourselves of the emotions that bind us to bad memories.
Living in the past and dwelling on negative experiences can block ones ability to achieve a harmonious relationship. If we haven’t forgiven an ex, a boss, a sister, a mother, a neighbor or even a fellow motorist, it’s time to do so. Forgive oneself as well. When you forgive and forget painful or unpleasant experiences, harmony will flow in every type of relationship you establish.
True forgiveness can let go of the past and overcome it, thereby allowing us to live a path of love, truth and justice, freeing us from suffering, renewing relationships, and allowing new opportunities for reconciliation and restoration with those to whom we have done wrong.
Forgiveness personally experienced, given and received, is evidence that in our world love is stronger than sin.
By forgiving we are saying: “I love you, I know your heart, I know that you are capable of forgiveness and love, I know that you are not like that and that you are a wonderful being who can be happy and make others happy, as much as I can”.