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“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” –Lewis B. Smedes


Quotes on Forgiveness:

“We attach our feelings to the moment when we were hurt, endowing it with immortality. And we let it assault us every time it comes to mind. It travels with us, sleeps with us, hovers over us while we make love, and broods over us while we die. Our hate does not even have the decency to die when those we hate die–for it is a parasite sucking OUR blood, not theirs. There is only one remedy for it. [forgiveness] –Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve

“With a little time, and a little more insight, we begin to see both ourselves and our enemies in humbler profiles. We are not really as innocent as we felt when we were first hurt. And we do not usually have a gigantic monster to forgive; we have a weak, needy, and somewhat stupid human being. When you see your enemy and yourself in the weakness and silliness of the humanity you share, you will make the miracle of forgiving a little easier.” –Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve

“The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. Fairness never comes. The chain reaction set off by every act of vengeance always takes its unhindered course. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain…Why do family feuds go on and on?…the reason is simple: no two people, no two families, ever weigh pain on the same scale.” –Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve

“All the years you have waited for them to “make it up to you” and all the energy you expended trying to make them change (or make them pay) kept the old wounds from healing and gave pain from the past free rein to shape and even damage your life. And still they may not have changed. Nothing you have done has made them change. Indeed, they may never change. Inner peace is found by changing yourself, not the people who hurt you. And you change yourself for yourself, for the joy, serenity, peace of mind, understanding, compassion, laughter, and bright future that you get.” –Lewis B. Smedes – The Art of Forgiving: When You Need To Forgive And Don’t Know How

“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another’s control…to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.” –Lance Morrow

“Let’s get one thing straight: Forgiving is not something you do for someone else. It is not even something you do because you SHOULD, according to the standards of religious belief or human decency. Forgiving is something that you do for yourself. It is one way of becoming the person you were created to be–and fulfilling God’s dream of you is the only way to true wholeness and happiness. You NEED to forgive so that you can move forward with life. An unforgiven injury binds you to a time and place someone else has chosen; it holds you trapped in a past moment and in old feelings.” –Carol Luebering – Finding A Way To Forgive (article, CareNotes)

You might also like: Forgiveness and the Freedom of Letting Go

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“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:
– Slowly
– With a Little Understanding
– In Confusion
– With Anger Left Over
– A Little at a Time
– Freely, or Not at All
– With a Fundamental Feeling

Why Forgive?
– 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”
http://www.csec.org/csec/sermon/smedes_4101.htm

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

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