What I am Thinking About
What a loaded word.
The dictionary gives us synonyms such as pardon, absolution, exoneration, defining it as the action of stopping being angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw or mistake.
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
The very word can bring up painful images and memories – it can cause us to think about horrible evils such as the Holocaust, child abuse, rape, and domestic violence. It can bring forward incomprehensible depths of pain and suffering. It can also bring to mind those (comparably) teeny seeds of day-to-day annoyance that come with living alongside other humans at home or work, church or school. Seeds that sprout and grow and blossom into massive thorny bushes that take over the garden of our minds, choking out compassion and grace.
But what is involved in the practice of forgiving someone – or indeed, being forgiven ourselves?