“Forgiving is, first of all, a way of helping yourself to get free of the unfair pain somebody caused you.” — Lewis B. Smedes
Is there someone you need to forgive? I am by no means an expert on forgiveness. I have no keys on “how-to” forgive. I think they say forgiveness is about letting go of the anger that is eating you up inside over the situation, but you don’t forget. Forgiveness is not saying that what the other person did was ok. Forgiveness does not mean I have to have this person in my life.
In his book “Forgive & Forget,” Lewis B. Smedes has this to say about forgiving and anger:
“Is there anger after forgiving?
Yes, often. It can’t be helped.
Some people believe that they should not feel anger in their hearts once they forgive.
I do not agree. I think that anger and forgiving can live together in the same heart. You are not a failure at forgiving just because you are still angry that a painful wrong was done to you.
It is terribly unrealistic to expect a single act of forgiving to get rid of all angry feelings.
Anger is the executive power of human decency. If you do not get angry and stay angry when a bad thing happens, you lose a piece of your humanity.
Remember, you cannot erase the past, you can only heal the pain it has left behind.
When you are wronged, that wrong becomes an indestructible reality of your life. When you forgive, you heal your hate for the person who created that reality. But you do not change the facts. And you do not undo all of their consequences. The dead stay dead; the wounded are often crippled still. The reality of evil and its damage to human beings is not magically undone and it can still make us very mad.
Once you start on your forgiving journey, you will begin to lose the passion of malice. Malice goes while anger lingers on. When forgiving begins it’s liberating work, the malice that once hissed like white flame from an acetylene torch begins to fizzle out.
A man slowly finds himself wishing his ex-wife well in her new marriage. We wish a blessing on the frail humanity of the person who hurt us, even if we were hurt unfairly and deeply.
What is happening? Malice is gradually fading, just as your head gradually stops pounding after you take three aspirin. You have anger without malice — a sign that your forgiving is real.
Anger minus malice gives hope. Malice, unrelieved, will gradually choke you. But anger can goad you to prevent the wrong from happening again. Malice keeps the pain alive and raw inside your feelings, anger pushes you with hope toward a better future.”
The Four Stages of Forgiveness:
1 – We Hurt
2 – We Hate
3 – We Heal Ourselves
4 – We Come Together
How People Forgive:
– With a Little Understanding
– In Confusion
– With Anger Left Over
– A Little at a Time
– Freely, or Not at All
– With a Fundamental Feeling
– Forgiving Makes Life Fairer
– Forgiving is a Better Risk
– Forgiving is Stronger
– Forgiving Fits Faulty People
— from Forgive & Forget by Lewis B. Smedes
Check out these “Five Things Everyone Should Know About Forgiving”
You might also like: The Gift of Forgiveness
Do you have any thoughts or tips on forgiving that you’d like to share with us?
Forgiveness and the Freedom of Letting Go