Please take a moment
to take in the following message:
What forgiveness is
"Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn't deny,
minimize, or justify what others have done to us or the pain that we
have suffered. It encourages us to look squarely at those old wounds and
see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we
have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.
Forgiveness is an internal process. It can't be
forced, and it doesn't come easy. It brings with it great feelings of
wellness and freedom. But we experience this only when we want to heal
and when we are willing to work for it.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem. We no longer identify
ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer victims.
We claim the right to stop hurting when we say, "I'm tired of the pain,
and I want to be healed." At that moment, forgiveness becomes a
possibility-although it may take time and much hard work before we
finally achieve it.
Forgiveness is letting go of the past. It doesn't
erase what happened, but it does allow us to lessen and perhaps even
eliminate the pain of the past. The pain from our past no longer
dictates how we live in the present, and it no longer determines our
It also means that we no longer need resentment and
anger as an excuse for our shortcomings. We don't need them as a weapon
to punish others nor as a shield to protect ourselves by keeping others
away. And most importantly, we don't need these feelings to identify who
we are. We become more than merely victims of our past.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish those who
hurt us. It is understanding that the anger and hatred that we feel
toward them hurts us far more than it hurts them. It is seeing how we
hide ourselves in our anger and how those feelings prevent us from
healing. It is discovering the inner peace that becomes ours when we let
go of the past and forget vengeance.
Forgiveness is moving on. It is recognizing all that
we have lost because of our refusal to forgive. It is realizing that the
energy that we spend hanging on to the past is better spent on improving
our present and our future. It is letting go of the past so that we can
Mistake of trying to run away from the past. The
problem is that no matter how fast or how far we run, the past always
catches up to us-and usually at the most inopportune time. When we
forgive, we are dealing with the past in such a way that we no We all
have been hurt. And at one time or another most of us have made the
longer have to run.
For me, learning how to forgive wasn't easy. But I
did learn, and my life is better for it - even here on death row."
Michael B. Ross
"To be angry is to let others' mistakes punish
To forgive others is to be good to yourself.