The Gift of Forgiveness

The Gift of Forgiveness

I want to talk more about forgiveness. It is a topic that deserves a good deal of attention and thought.

It’s tough to forgive – especially when we’ve been deeply hurt, betrayed, lied to, lied about or abused. It takes time to forgive. It takes courage and commitment to forgive someone who has ostracized us, harmed us emotionally, physically or psychologically.

I believe it’s healthy to feel anger about the injustices brought down upon us. It’s healthy to remember how badly we’ve been treated and to let ourselves grieve. I believe this process of remembering and grieving repeats itself until we find the strength and resolve to forgive and let go.

Early on, after the initial shock and betrayal of being sent packing by my son and daughter-in-law, I sometimes fantasized about getting even. I wanted justice! What had happened was so wrong on so many levels that I wanted revenge. But, I’m not a vengeful person and getting even or meeting their fire with fire doesn’t feel right to me.

So, if revenge isn’t an option, what’s left is forgiveness. But it’s not that easy. For me, it’s taking a long time and will take more time. The losses, the wounds, the hurt and anger have created too deep a tear in my heart. It’s a slow process, but my intention is to forgive so that I can live without regret and find some peace.

I will never forget what happened and how they chose to treat me. Forgiving them doesn’t mean that I don’t hold them accountable for their actions or that I will not mourn what is forever lost. But as I forgive and forgive and forgive, I set them free and my self-respect is restored.

I came across this beautiful poem by Desmond Tutu, who says it better than I can:

I will forgive you

The words are so small

But there is a universe hidden in them

When I forgive you

All those cords of resentment, pain, and sadness that had wrapped

themselves around my heart will be gone

When I forgive you

You will no longer define me

You measured me and assessed me and

decided that you could hurt me

I didn’t count

But I will forgive you

Because I do count

I do matter

I am bigger than the image you have of me

I am stronger

I am more beautiful

And I am infinitely more precious than you thought me

I will forgive you

My forgiveness is not a gift that I am giving to you

When I forgive you

My forgiveness will be a gift that gives itself to me

2 thoughts on “The Gift of Forgiveness”

  • Extremely helpful to have come across your website after an internet search. What you express speaks to my heart and the bereavement that comes and goes, but mostly is present and causing some depression that I do my best to ward off.

    Thank you so much for reading this messages. Me, too, the problem is the gatekeeper DIL’s mental problems, a situation fully explained to me by my son. Alas, my grandchildren whom I love more than i can ever express, are withheld from me.

    Every time I make an attempt (per Dr Coleman’s advice) to engage my son in communication and there’s no answer or no visit, I am thrown into deeper despair, so forgiving them is my only option. And perhaps, letting them go. Funny thing (or not) I have lived in this town for 35 years and now it is an empty, meaningless shell of a place. I am thinking of moving away but don’t want my son to feel abandoned.

    • Hello, Shakota. Thank-you for writing and sharing your thoughts. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing the pain of estrangement. I agree that it’s a good idea to engage your son when possible – keeping the subject neutral has worked well for me. However, if you often don’t get a reply, it might be time to disengage. There is a point when too much efftort on your part becomes disheartening. I’ve learned how important it is to protect body, mind, heart and soul from ongoing hurt and frustration. As for wanting to move – hasn’t your son already abandoned you? Do what you need to do for your own health and try to find joy in your life. Be happy anyway. . Move forward and don’t waste anymore time on second-guessing them, missing them, being hurt by them, etc.. They’re living their lives the way they have chosen so honor your own life and do your best to find some happiness and peace.

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