“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it”
Forgiveness is a vital skill for living in harmony with others. Every day mistakes are made, feelings are hurt, and pain is caused. We all can fall short of doing our best when we explore life. Forgiveness allows you to continue in integrity on the journey, letting go of the burdens of resentment and anger.
But forgiveness can be hard when you don’t really understand what it means when you forgive someone. Are you excusing their actions, condoning their behavior, or pardoning the event?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, to excuse is to pass over a mistake or fault, usually a minor one, without demanding punishment or redress. To condone is to overlook an offense, usually serious, and thereby give tacit pardon. To forgive is to grant pardon without harboring resentment, and to renounce anger or resentment against the other party.
Forgiveness is a gift of spiritual pardon, which is a process of releasing yourself and others from carrying the pain of the experience, restoring you anew. The definition of pardon is to release a person from punishment or to forgive. In Roman Catholic tradition, after a person was forgiven, an “indulgence” was granted as a remission of punishment for a sin. One definition of remission is to restore to original condition or put back. A spiritual pardon is an act of forgiving others and restoring harmony.
Forgiveness is not the act of condoning hurtful behaviors.
Forgiveness is not the act of pardoning others from a throne of masochistic righteousness. Forgiveness does not boast, forgiveness does not manipulate, forgiveness does not dictate that we maintain relationships, forgiveness doesn’t even dictate that we be nice. After all, sometimes the only way to heal a relationship is to end a relationship but that’s an entirely different essay.
Lastly, it deserves to be written that forgiveness most certainly does not forget.
However, forgiveness does change how we remember.
So if these time-honored definitions fail to represent true forgiveness, what is true forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the art of remembering your past experiences in such a way that your current energy remains intact. Forgiveness is the art of remembering your ex-husband, your mistakes, your boss, your body, in such a way that your current energy remains intact.
Forgiveness is a gift from the self, to the self. When properly practiced, forgiveness has nothing to do with anything else or anyone else, even though its outer effects are measureless.
Forgiveness is an inside job.