Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Show me the way to forgive you
Allow me to let it go
Allow me to be forgiven
Show me the way to let go
                                                                THOMAS by A Perfect Circle

I used to think that forgiveness was easy and that a higher power forgave my sins and took them away, all I had to do was ask for it.  My first problem was that I tended not be able to forgive others completely.  Second, I could never understand was why it was so hard to feel that personal forgiveness was real and to believe that I had it when I really needed it.  I didn’t understand then how inclusive true forgiveness is, and I know now that forgiveness is powerful.  It may not be easy, but it is necessary for my feelings of happiness and satisfaction with my life.  I believe in the transforming power of forgiveness.

Many years ago I made a very poor decision and did something embarrassing that I felt bad about.  No one got hurt, nothing illegal took place, but a small group of people, including my best friend, knew what I had done.  I felt ashamed and humiliated.  I would vow to get over and forgive myself.  I prayed to be forgiven, a lot, but I still felt ashamed.  Somehow forgiveness never came, so I carried those awful feelings around and kept them in my heart and let them haunt me every time I remembered what I done.

One day a few years ago, I was reminiscing with my best friend, and she said how bad she still felt about an argument we’d had long ago, one that had ended with her slapping me across the face.  I was surprised because I had nearly forgotten that.  It never occurred to me that she was hurting all those years.  I told her I had forgiven her way back then and none of it mattered, least of all the slap!

Then I thought of my bad thing, and I told her how I’d been carrying that with me and how I couldn’t get over it.  I’d prayed for forgiveness dozens of times yet never felt that I was forgiven.  My best friend said, she never thought of that thing.  Do you think those other people do?  Do you think they get together and talk about you, all these years later? 

I started crying and said yes, I thought that. 
She said that’s not true.  You’re the only one still talking about it. 

Standing there in her kitchen, wiping my tears, I knew she was right.  The more I thought about it the lighter I felt.  I realized that I was the one who kept the pain alive, I was tormenting myself, and no matter how many times I’d asked to be forgiven, I had never forgiven myself until then.  That day, I found a new way to think about myself and about people.  I’ve been able to forgive myself, and forgive others and let go of painful situations.  I’m learning to stop reliving and rehashing the past, when before that would never have been a possibility for me.  I believe in the transforming power of forgiveness.


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