Forgiveness, by definition, is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and is able to let go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Why do we find it so hard to forgive? Is it the fear of letting go of past hurts? Is it the fear of change? Is it the inability to allow ourselves to do the “right thing”? Whatever the question, the reality is that forgiveness is hard work at times.
St. Matthew in his Gospel writes, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 14 – 15. Matthew tells us of the importance of forgiveness so that we too may also experience forgiveness from the God who loves us beyond all measure.
Mahatma Gandhi writes, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Let us be strong during this time when our world is in need of much forgiveness!
Pat Schifini, OSU