How to forgive. | Tip Tuesday
Today's post is not at all photography related, but I still believe it to be very relevant and important. Forgiveness is an essential part of living life well, but in today's culture it is not often encouraged. I want to talk about the importance of forgiveness, and some practical steps you can take to work towards forgiving someone.
I recently had a situation where I had to forgive someone. I currently work as a teller at a local credit union, and I had a member I don't normally work with tell me multiple times to "shut up" and "stop talking". I could explain the entire situation to give more context, but I truly don't believe that is necessary. This member was blatantly rude and his behavior was absurd. Nonetheless, I still had to maintain a professional manor towards him and in the aftermath, work through forgiving him.
I won't pretend to be a master at forgiveness, it isn't always easy. While this situation only took a few hours for me to fully work through, there have been other incidents that have taken years for me to reach a point of genuine forgiveness. I remember growing up, my three younger sisters and I were always taught to say "I am sorry, will you forgive me?" if we did wrong and "I forgive you" if we were the one wronged. Too often I would simply say "I forgive you" out of routine, and not out of genuine forgiveness. I remember my parent's frustrations when they knew I wasn't fully understanding the purpose of the exercise. This bled into my life beyond childhood, my high school and college years, and even into my life today.
Forgiveness is more than just saying the words, it's an act within your heart.
When you forgive someone, you let it go. Whatever they did or said, you don't let it have a hold on you anymore. You don't allow yourself to obsess over it, and you don't allow it to control your opinions of them. You let it go.
I want to be clear that this doesn't mean you forget. There is the saying "forgive and forget", but I don't believe that to always be wise. If you've been truly cheated by someone, genuinely hurt, or put in a dangerous situation, it would be unwise to completely forget about it. You need to forgive them, yes, let any hard feelings towards them go. But do not forget about it completely. You need to remain aware for the future so you can make wise decisions and not put yourself into a compromising situation.
When you're wronged, take the time to process it. If you can, think of it from their side, but don't make excuses for them. Simply try to understand where they were coming from. Once you reach a point of understanding, make the choice to forgive them. Choose to not let it have a hold on you. Forgive them. And if you find the hurt still has a hold on you down the road, repeat this process. Continually choose to let it go and not let it have a hold over your life and decisions.
I hope you found this helpful! Forgiveness is not always easy, and can be a painful process itself. You want to hold onto the feeling that you deserve to be hurt, that you're entitled to be angry. Let go of those thoughts, and begin taking baby steps towards forgiveness. If you can't do it on your own, pray that God will help you. I promise he will.