Forgiveness defined: The elimination of all desire for revenge and personal ill-will toward those who have deeply wronged or betrayed us. This elimination usually brings inner peace of heart and the freedom of not having our lives defined by injuries we have suffered.

“Forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply.   He began by forgiving us.  He invites us to forgive each other.” (Lewis B. Smedes,  FORGIVE AND FORGET, Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve)

Sometimes there are hurts in our lives that do not demand that we forgive. As we ponder these hurts, we may see that the cause for the behavior lies in the person’s childhood upbringing.  Perhaps we see that we, ourselves, have behaved similarly.  We may choose to blow the hurt off because we hope that the injurer will do the same for us when we mess up in the relationship.  However, forgiveness is needed for the serious betrayals and wrongs that cannot be easily overlooked.  The deep wounds of the heart and soul can be difficult to pass over.

The hurt that calls us to the crisis of forgiveness will always be deep, personal, and unfair.

Forgiveness is not an act.  It is a process. It begins as we ask God to perform spiritual surgery within our souls. Hate blinds us to the truth regarding the injurer.

When we are bitter because of another’s hurtful actions towards us, we seethe with hate and cannot separate the injurer from their hurtful actions. We must ask God for new clarity—to unblind our eyes and unlock our hearts so we can see the wrong-doer as a person, not a demon. This is a personal journey. This is a journey of the soul. It is a journey where God will move in your heart and will reveal to you things about yourself and the offender that will enable you to forgive.

Why forgive?  In my opinion, the very best expose’ on the subject of why we should forgive is found in the book The Faces of Rage, by David Damico.  He writes in a chapter entitled, “Why Face the Pain?” the following reasons:

”To the extent we cannot remove the small losses, we will be unable to resolve the big ones.

Our failure to resolve loss can impair our ability to recognize and comfort our children and loved ones when they are in pain.

Lack of resolution limits our ability to reach out as adults—even when we want to.

Lack of resolution impacts our ability to feel and remember. Not only do we learn to block out the bad times, but we have difficulty remembering the good times as well.

Lack of resolution forces us into self-protection that must keep others at arms length. This limits our receptivity to the love that others may want to extend to us.

Lack of resolution may cause us to project our past fears and beliefs into present circumstances.  We may, therefore, mistrust someone who has never done anything to deserve it.

Lack of resolution can lead to the construction of walls that lock the needy parts of us inside and deny access to anyone, including God, who can heal and restore us.  This can doom us to heap loss upon loss until the pattern of our lives reveals a pattern of unresolved loss and rage that extends to every aspect of our physical, emotional, and spiritual being.”