Though I don’t often avert to religion or spirituality, my own values are firmly grounded in mid-century mainstream Protestantism — most prominent of which are compassion, tolerance, apology, forgiveness, reconciliation and the very real and ever present potential for the redemption of the human spirit.
Resentment, bitterness, anger, vindictiveness and the desire for retribution are all emotions that interfere with the expression of the forgiving side of our spirits.
More than one friend has likened the holding of resentments against others to “drinking poison and expecting the other guy to die.” Because I have personally reaped the soul-soothing benefits of the challenging practice of apology and forgiveness, my posts on apology — though calculated to ease business negotiations — are as grounded in reconciliation’s spiritual as well as its material value.
To forgive is to let go of a form of anger – specifically, resentment. Even more specifically, the resentment we feel toward someone who has wronged us is a deep and long-lasting blame. Blame is based on judgment: he or she shouldn’t have done that because they should have known better; or because it was unjust; or because, in the same situation, I wouldn’t have done that…
In most cases where we struggle with the issue of how to forgive someone, the primary motive is our own peace of mind, not how to help the person who has wronged us. This is because the odds are that we, as the wronged party, remain disturbed over the incident long after the person who wronged us has moved on.
Forgiveness is related to love. To understand just how, we’d need to know just what we mean by love – a big topic. But to briefly mention one angle on this, we can easily see that forgiveness is related to self love when we realize that to forgive someone else is to promote our own mental health and spiritual peace.