Forgiveness is not “forgiving and forgetting,” a weakness, or a feeling. To forgive is defined as to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. The root of “forgive” comes from the Latin word “perdonare” meaning “to give completely without reservation.” Being a Christian, I believe that my sins are forgiven by the grace of God because the power within me is stronger than any power or temptation I may face (1 John 4:4). Others forgive because they think it is the morally right thing to do.
Forgiveness and the extent of being forgiven may be different for everyone. Some people forgive and forget immediately, while others hold grudges or don’t let the problem pass. I forgive because of what Jesus did on the cross for me. Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross so that we could have eternal life, and later, when we made mistakes, we could be forgiven by his loving grace. While Jesus was on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Forgiveness isn’t forgiving and forgetting. The term “forgive and forget” can be threatening for both parties involved. Forgetting about the situation that caused the problem will not help a damaged relationship, it will only build up negative emotions. The situation that happened may always reside in the back of one’s mind, but forgiveness will help repair and restore the relationship. Forgetting right away builds anger and can make the other person think what they did was okay.
Forgiving someone is not a weakness. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -(Mahatma Gandhi). In Matthew 11:28 it says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Forgiving someone will lift the weight off of your shoulders, and push the negative energy out of the body. Life is too short to not forgive, and one never knows when a bump in the road will turn your life around. Let go of the burdens that simply aren’t yours to carry. Holding onto a burden will only hurt you and build up negative feelings within you. In no way is the power of forgiveness weak. To be able to forgive someone makes you stronger than you will ever know.
Forgiveness is not a feeling, forgiveness is a decision. I have grown up in the church always learning to ‘forgive others who trespass against us’, no matter how badly I may not want to. When I was made fun of countless times for loving Jesus, I forgave them. I chose to forgive when my “bestfriend” chose to leave me for alcohol and boys. Forgiveness is in no way a feeling, forgiveness is a choice. “To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -C.S. Lewis
So what does forgiveness mean to me? To me, it’s forgiving even when it is hard, and even when I do not want to do it. Forgiveness is letting go of grudges because life is’s too short. Forgiveness is a choice I will continue to make day after day, just as Jesus does for me.