To Forgive or Not Forgive?

The topic of forgiveness is one that stirs up a lot of energy within me. This is true because I have witnessed so many people who have been injured by the projections put on them by others about how they are supposed to forgive. I understand that many of you may have been raised in various faith systems that may teach some stringent beliefs about forgiveness. While it certainly is your right to adhere to any of those views, nonetheless, I strongly encourage you not to push them on others.

I view forgiveness as a “process”; a grief process. The meaning of forgiveness is a debatable one. I by no means believe forgiveness means to forgive and forget, as if the injury never occurred. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that you agree that a certain behavior was acceptable and therefore you are forgiving the person.

When I work with clients and we talk about forgiveness we work on the area of forgiveness in a manner that will help the person feel less oppressed by the feelings he or she is experiencing due to the hurt the person has experienced. Sometimes that person does choose to forgive. (Whatever the word forgives may mean to them.) For some they forgive, however, it does not mean that they have a continued relationship with the person who offended them. Nor, in many cases would it be appropriate to have a relationship with the person that hurt them.

There are some that choose not to forgive; and who am I to judge. This person is able to choose not to forgive without letting it control their lives. This person does not feel full of range all the time. They have done their grief work so the lack of forgiveness is not oppressive to them. The negative claim on their spirit has been released.

Forgiveness can be a very sensitive subject and a topic that deserves respect from all. If you are struggling with forgiving someone, I encourage you to be patient with yourself. Rushing to forgiveness as a way of avoiding the grief work that is necessary to arrive at forgiveness often lacks longevity. I implore you to learn and understand that forgiveness has its own unique grief process. I hope your will be more gentle with yourself while you work through the process of considering forgiveness.


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