First Is Forgiveness

Have you ever been wronged?  

I know I have. A few times, in a big life-changing way!

Are you angry about it? Are you shouting “They’re wrong! It wasn’t right! It’s not fair!”  

I know that tune and once sang it myself – in fact, my lyrics would have been considered explicit! I’ve struggled with this tune recently and sometimes shoved the hurt down inside to let it fester.  But – it’s different now. The anger and resentment are shorter in duration, and the volume is much, much lower.  The result? Increased joy and lower stress.

In The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu writes, “It seems there is no end to the creative ways we humans find to hurt each other, and no end to the reasons we feel justified in doing so.  There is also no end to the human capacity for healing.  In each of us, there is an innate ability to create joy out of suffering, to find hope in the most hopeless of situations, and to heal any relationship in need of healing.”

Thank God!

So, if you are still holding on to wrongdoing from the past, there is hope. I’ve been there. I’m still there and studying the topic so I can get better at this difficult practice. But the first step is to acknowledge that Forgiveness is what sets you free from that burden of anger and resentment. It’s the truth.

If you are stuck in a negative place caused by someone else, guess what?  That person, whoever caused the grief, is living rent-free between your ears and it does not serve you at all. Forgiveness is key.

You might say, “You don’t know my story – that would be impossible!”  Well, maybe. But I don’t think so.  I am amazed at some of the stories of Forgiveness I’ve heard and read about. You see, just because you Forgive someone and set yourself free from the burden does NOT mean you need to trust that person again or keep them in your life. There may be a renewal of a relationship, which can be a beautiful thing, but sometimes the relationship needs to dissolve. Frankly, Forgiveness doesn’t even mean you need to tell someone you forgive them! You might do so, especially if you know they are sorry and the act weighs on them too.  But this is more about your internal struggle for the moment and what the act of Forgiveness does for your life.

Holding grudges. It’s not worth it. Maybe, the act was beyond their control. Maybe, they didn’t communicate something well and are unaware they even hurt you. Maybe, they acted in a manner based on their upbringing and lack of self-awareness. Maybe, they were acting under the influence of a substance they were trying to break free from. Maybe, they are trying to keep you down based on their insecurity.  And sometimes, yes, the offense was brutal, and seeking counseling is the appropriate path.  The truth is we often don’t know someone’s story and what drives the behavior. Not many people are intentionally “bad.” This is a mindset that I choose. 

And, please hear this: Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone or approve of the behavior. It doesn’t make the wrong right. It simply allows you to release the poison that can get trapped inside.

This can be a short process if someone cuts you off in traffic. It can be a long process if someone you were close to lost their life due to the negligence or maliciousness of another. Check out this story for some perspective. It inspired the song Forgiveness by Matthew West:

The other key is Forgiveness of self. Maybe it’s you that has done something wrong. Of course, you have!  You are human. You are also not the same person you were then. You messed up, and it’s OK.  You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. Ask for Forgiveness when appropriate, but also extend that Forgiveness to yourself as well!  Sometimes we beat ourselves up over and over again and it’s just reinforcing negativity, which creates a vicious cycle. Let’s break free from that cycle.

In her book You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay writes, “We understand our own pain so well. How hard it is for most of us to understand that THEY, whoever they are we need most to forgive, were also in pain. We need to understand they were doing the best they could with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge they had at the time.” And goes on to say, “It has nothing to do with condoning behavior. It’s just letting the whole thing go.”

I recently wrote a lesson for a strong group of Realtors® in South Florida called 20 Truths. This was a series of observations over 20 years in the real estate business and a discussion on action items that can elevate their businesses and lives. One of the truths was that “Fear and lack of Forgiveness can crush your dreams.” We will handle fear another time, that’s another big topic. First, is Forgiveness, because lack of it can deeply permeate our personal and professional lives. Sometimes, it is the root cause of stress or health issues and keeps us from attracting amazing things to us because of this terrible energy we carry around with us.

Think I’m exaggerating? Your call.

But let me pose this question. What do you have to lose in letting some of this negativity go? 

It may be hard. It may be painful. Emotions will come up. But, it is totally worth it. If you could easily make a choice for joy and peace over anger and resentment you’d do it, right? Well. It is a simple choice, just not an easy one to act on. Well, that which is meaningful is often challenging. 

In Module 2 of our One To Grow On community, we go deeper into research and some action steps but let’s go over a few now:

  1. Pray for the person who wronged you. If you are not a person of faith, then send them good thoughts. Think of them in a positive light and imagine good things happening for them. Then, call up a grateful emotion for any positive aspects of the person. If you do this multiple times, you will feel the anger subside.
  2. If you start overthinking about this person and what they did to you, then change the dialogue. Tell yourself “Stop.” This is useless. Their action against me or opinion of me or whatever they said to me has nothing to do with who I am and my value. I am valuable, and they are too.
  3. Listen to this song Forgiveness by Matthew West.  Maybe, like me, listen to it often.  Listen to every word:  

Our thoughts are powerful, but it helps to be consistent with these because repetition helps ratify the thinking. If you can, summon up positivity while you are thinking about the person and change the narrative that they are simply doing the best they can with their upbringing and set of life circumstances (just like you and me), that can help too.

Here’s the rub. Being confident and approving of yourself is a crucial part of this. If you rely on others to establish your sense of worth, this exercise is nearly impossible because you might just care too much about what others say, think, and do when it comes to you. You are immensely valuable, and I hope you know this fact!

For more on Forgiveness, check out our webinar…”  Live Webinar: First is Forgiveness – Withholding it is COSTLY – Momentors (

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