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Why We All Need To Be More Forgiving
There are moments in life when all material things cease to matter.
Your net worth, home, car, holiday, business etc.
Such things become second rate and stop being top priority, even for a moment.
I’ve found that these moments arise when human relationships breakdown or get fractured.
They also arise when more eternal things are prioritised or take over as a result of something happening.
One such situation is what happens when we might have done something wrong or are falsely accused.
Have you been offended recently? By a friend, family member, or even a stranger?
What should your course of action be? Attack? Forgive? Or do nothing?
Or have you instead been the cause of a broken relationship or potential friendship, and wished for forgiveness?
I’ve personally been involved in all of the above scenarios and can certainly tell you that all aspects of forgiveness can be hard.
I have known people who really disappointed me through life and at some point, I swore I’d have absolutely nothing to do with them.
On the other hand, I’ve offended people and made selfish mistakes that have killed off relationships and left me feeling lost.
How should these two dynamics be balanced?
I genuinely scratch my head when it comes to these matters.
They demonstrate some of the challenges we have as human beings, and the extent to which life can be complex.
One thing is for sure – We are all flawed.
We have been wired this way so that we can never see ourselves as perfect and without blemish.
Good relationships take alot of work and time to build, and in a split moment, such relationships could also get destroyed.
How then should we do life such that we feel fulfilled in our relationships and build genuine friendships that prioritise the eternal things?
It has taken me some time to realise this but I believe one important way to do this is to live a life of forgiveness.
Although I have always known this, turning it into a way of living is quite something else.
It took me sitting with some 20,000 strangers in a rare moment to be reminded of this:
Sometimes you need to be alone and I found that escape with these people.
I not only need to forgive others, but I need to be forgiven.
It’s easy for us to judge each other and point the finger at terrible things others have done. Others except us that is.
Regardless of our levels of personal success, a good life that is expansive and inclusive is all about people.
Prioritising people and forgiveness is intentional and leads to a life lived with an eternal perspective.
Below are some of the reasons why I think we all need to be more forgiving:
To Be Happier
When we don’t forgive, we make ourselves more sad and hateful.
I believe this is because even more important than ourselves, is the need to consider other people.
This probably sounds counterintuitive. My experience of the things we should really be doing is that they’re usually counter to popular culture.
Although forgiving someone does something wonderful for their emotional wellbeing, it is even more effective for us as individuals.
It’s one way of freeing ourselves from yet another thing that could be holding us back from living a happier and more fulfilling life.
To Show Love
Love is the greatest force that exists. It not only unites us as human beings but connects us to our maker.
It’s easy to believe that we have to understand all the pieces before we can show love by forgiving.
This isn’t always possible and often not necessary. I’ve made this mistake many times and on reflection, I know it was selfish.
The very act of forgiving anyway is a Faith Walk. It’s a way of doing something as we would like it to be done to us too.
To Move On
Asking or seeking forgiveness does not always mean that you’ll be forgiven.
However, it can serve as a release mechanism that helps you move on from a situation.
It takes alot of courage to reach out to someone you might have offended and ask for forgiveness.
Especially when in the ideal world, you could have been understood better.
Doing this lifts a weight off your shoulders and demonstrates the humility of a servant.
If you’re struggling to do this, think no more about it. Seek the forgiveness and look ahead.
Life has a way of rewarding those who are sincere in their commitments to build better relationships.
If anything, doing this will build your character and help you deal with other situations life could throw your way.
It is all a test and how you deal with stuff in the eye of the storm is what counts.
Hold your head up. It will all be ok.
To Appreciate More
In my darkest hours, I’ve had to sit down and count my many blessings.
My wife, sons, family, good health, friends, my faith, encouraging strangers and much more.
These are but a handful of things I can immediately write down as things I am grateful for in difficult times.
[redbar]Gratitude is the antidote for optimism.[/redbar]
When you’re down and out and need a way to move on, going back to the beginning is a good place to start.
I often ask myself – How did we get here? When have we had good laughs? When last did we eat together? Where are we going?
It’s encouraging in all things, to be thankful and seek joy.
To Be Reminded
Whether you’re in the position of being the forgiver or the forgiven, there is a common moment of reflection.
I always find that these moments of reflection remind me that there are greater forces at work in life.
Almost as though the need to forgive or to seek forgiveness is wired in and our personal rebellion is what fights it.
I am also reminded that the connectivity we feel towards other human beings points to something much greater.
Almost as though we are being welcomed home when we forgive.
Forgiveness plays a critical role in doing life well. You may need to forgive others, ask for forgiveness or simply forgive yourself.
Making the decision to make it an important part of how you do life will not only make you more selfless but also help you build deeper friendships.
What are your thoughts on forgiveness? And what role has it played in your life personally?
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.