Photo – Courtesy of Casa Dresden
When I posted this article back in 2008, little did I know where THAT little forgiveness project would lead. The concept of Forgive it Forward could not have been further from my mind! I am re-posting this to share how important it is to pay attention to those little nudges we get along the path … including those to forgive. You never know where they will lead or, in this case, WHEN they will take seed and lead.
This Year, International Forgiveness Day is August 8, 2010
This original article was posted: August 1, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008 is International Forgiveness Day. An article by Michael E. McCullough, entitled Vengeance 101 in the July/August issue of Spirituality & Health lists projects that can be implemented in the spirit of encouraging the world to be a more forgiving place. Those of you who know Ray and me know this is a big topic for us. Neither of us would be here today were it not for our willingness to forgive and our willingness to accept forgiveness.
So, we cannot let this day go by without support. We are picking Project #4 on the list – with our own twist, of course. It states, “Promote a climate of apology and compensation in your family, neighborhood, congregation, or place of work.” We wish to promote a climate for consideration, contemplation, and conversation – if you care to join in – as to where our lives would be without the willingness to forgive and accept forgiveness.
When we say forgiveness, we are not talking about the “pardoning” kind. (The kind that says, “You’ve done me wrong. You’ve hurt me bad. You’ve altered me. I will suffer with this pain forever but I will forgive you.”) Yes, pardoning is a starting point. But pardoning, at best, offers a compromised peace. A peace that teeters atop past offenses, stashed yet never forgotten. Throw a few more offenses on top of the pile and this version of forgiveness crumbles rapidly. Pardoning would never have gotten Ray and I around the block after our reconciliation.
When we say forgiveness, we are talking about the kind that erases the “offense” forever; the kind that shifts our perception, converts the offense to a classroom, the offender to a teacher, the experience to an opportunity for growth. A growth that allows us to say, ” I forgive you.” with the subtext being, “I see this differently. I was mistaken when I thought you harmed me. Look at what I have learned. Look who I have grown to be. Look who I have uncovered. I’m okay. There is nothing to forgive here.” This kind of forgiveness does not crumble. Read more