I thought I should reflect on the very meaning of forgiveness itself. Everyone has heard of the injunction to forgive oneself and forgive others. What then is that forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the deliberate or intentional and voluntary change in one’s feelings and attitude regarding an offence. It means letting go of negative emotions such as vengefulness with an ability to wish the offender well. It is a deliberate decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge on the aggressor or one who offends you. What it means therefore, is that the act of forgiveness is no longer holding on to what someone did to you against the person. Put another way, forgiveness means a willing change of heart and the successful result of an active endeavor to replace bad thoughts of bitterness and anger with compassion and affect. It is a choice of obedience to God’s Word against your emotions to forgive. It means giving unconditional, unmerited favor to someone who doesn’t deserve it. That is why forgiveness is a choice and it won’t take place until you choose to forgive.
The act of forgiveness is the result of a process involving change in emotion and attitude regarding or towards an offender. The intentional and deliberate process is driven by a decision to forgive. In the process, negative emotions towards an offender are replaced with positive attitudes including compassion and benevolence towards the offender.
Forgiveness shows the strength of character of one who forgives, the reason Maha’atma Gandhi contended that “the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong”. In the same vein Paul Boose remarked “forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future”.
Forgiveness takes place with full awareness of the victim that he or she deserves to be better treated by the offender. So, in the process of forgiving, you are conscious of the fact that you cannot change the event or the offence done to you, you can change the meaning you give to it. As a process, you may experience ups and downs in