Forgiveness enlarges the future
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful actions a human being can take–it doesn’t change the past, it enlarges the future.* Forgiveness is a choice that frees us from the burden of resentment and regret–it doesn’t alter the past, make things right, condone what we did or may have been done to us. It shifts the present and allows us to move forward. Creating a new future is declarative and takes a commitment to being complete with the person or people involved.
Forgiveness is not really about the person who we say has done wrong; it’s about the one who is forgiving. It’s about finding the courage to step out of “the way it should have been.” To complete a past hurt, resentment, anger, fear or failure, it’s worth noticing both how we’re holding what happened now, in the present, as well as recognizing that whatever happened more than likely will have gained over time a certain mass and complexity in our minds. In taking that into account, we’re more able to address the context, hear others, and look at what might be next. For example, if we’re harboring resentment, it involves taking responsibility for the diminishment of the other person and requires generative language, such as “I’m giving up the grudge I’ve been harboring for years.” Upsets and grudges that we carry from the past narrow our options, impact our relationships and limit our experience of living fully.
If resentment and anger stay with us, the circumstances have the power, not us. Forgiveness puts the power fully in our hands. It creates a space in which a new future can be created, and points to the capacity we have to reach out beyond ourselves.
Landmark Forum leader
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