We all know the old saying “Forgive and forget.” Some believe you can forgive but should never forget. Jesus tells us in The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:22) that we should forgive “not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” In other words, we should continue being forgiving, and it should be innumerable, unending. It is a simple concept, but not so easy to accomplish sometimes.
I personally struggle with forgiveness of those that commit heinous crimes, acts of violence, and most especially against children, elderly, or animals. Don’t even get me started on hate crimes! Those are some of my biases. It is good to know our own biases at any time, but especially helpful regarding forgiveness. I have another personal statement in my head: Intolerance will not be tolerated! 🙂 Yes, I know it is contradictory… maybe a paradox.
Personally, I find it easiest to just realize that this is who I have in my life when I have forgiven someone for wrongdoings. Then I am free to choose whether they should remain in my life, and to what extent. Sometimes we can forgive, but it is not so wise to keep them around once they have shown us who they are. ‘Just goes to show you that forgiveness is really for the one doing the forgiving, and not necessarily for the transgressor.
We all struggle from time to time with that person that continues to abuse the privilege of our forgiveness, or our kind nature. On the other hand, perhaps we have been the one repeating a hurtful error on someone — a loved one, teacher, workmate, etc.
This quote can mean something different depending on from which perspective you are reading. It is actually for the one forgiving, as well as the one being forgiven. It is helpful if you can read it both ways, as there is opportunity in there regardless of how this lands for you personally.
What does it mean for you? I would love to hear!