For a Great R-O-I Try Forgiveness
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free only to discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes
The power of forgiveness cannot be understated.
That is, depending upon our understanding of what it means.
Having been raised in a traditional Christian household, the notion carried with it all kinds of theological layers.
I remember finding the whole concept a bit overwhelming and somehow involving death, a distinctly unpleasant association.
It’s taken me a lifetime to learn that forgiveness is not half as difficult a concept as my little girl understanding of the notion led me to believe.
Here’s what it doesn’t mean:
- It doesn’t mean you condone the offense.
- It doesn’t mean you will forget it.
- It doesn’t mean you necessarily void the consequences of the offence.
- It doesn’t mean things will necessarily be the same in the future.
- Lastly, it doesn’t need to be voiced to the offender. There are many ways to forgive. Sometimes they’re delivered out loud to the person; most often, however, they are not.
Here’s what it does mean:
- It means you let yourself out of jail, not the other person, which makes things easier—for you—in the present and the future, even if it’s different than the one you planned.
- Like sorting through old boxes of clothes or cleaning your closet, forgiveness makes space for new outfits, room for hope that the hurts once occupied. Hoarding happens on an emotional level as well as the physical.
- It acts an anti-biotic, combating the hurts that takes root inside you like a virus when you hang on to your hurts.
- It means you grow both stronger and more malleable over time. A powerful paradox.
- Lastly, it means releasing your need to hear the other person apologise.
Bottom-line: Forgiveness is a choice. And one you make for you, not the person who’s hurt you. Because forgiveness is about you. Always. It might end up benefiting the other person, too, but you’re the big winner in the long run, so maybe do it more often.
Start small: That guy who cuts you off in traffic or the waitress who gets your order wrong.
Work your way up to friends and then family.
Although, for quickest ROI, consider working it the other way ‘round.
It’s your choice.