Friday, February 1, 2008

Bob Garon's thoughts on forgiveness

One of the more difficult things to do in any relationship is to forgive. Often we are so deeply offended, so hurt that forgiveness becomes a monumental challenge.

It is important to learn how to forgive if one is to keep a lasting relationship. Since we all acknowledge that we are imperfect beings, weare going to make mistakes. And over the years, those mistakes will continue to add up. Unless we are able to forgive, our relationships are in for a rough ride, that is assuming that they last. The problem withnot forgiving is that the anger, bitterness and resentment that the transgressions have caused remain with us until a measure of forgiveness is able to deal with them. He who will not forgive is doomed to carry the effects of the harm done to him for as long as he holds on to his refusal to pardon his offender. The bitterness and anger will remain in his heart and make it that much more difficult to move on.

When you refuse to forgive, you perpetuate the anger within you. Your enemy or he who has hurt you continues to do so long after he has gone out of your life. And there are those among us who refuse to forgive even dead men. This is why the dead continues to haunt you and your hurt stays with your long after your offender has been put into the ground.

To forgive does not mean to forget. It means remembering and letting go."It means cleansing yourself of pain, anger and humiliation. Forgiveness means purifying yourself so you can get on with life," says C. EdwardCrowther. "There is life after forgiveness, and it is a wonderfully goodlife, perhaps better than you've ever know. And this can be true inevery situation, whether you and your partner have resolved yourindifferences and are continuing on a more appropriate and happy relationship path.

"Even when your pain is so intense that you cannot forget, forgiveness is still possible. When you forgive someone who loves you, you send him a strong message of love. You are saying, "my love is greater than your transgression." If your partner is a sincere man and has a lot ofgoodwill, he will feel greatly indebted to you. He will feel your love and this should urge him on to return your love by making amends.

If, however, there is no end to continued offenses, then you must notallow your good will to be abused. If the continued offenses are a real threat to you, you might want to put a limit on the abuses before walking away.

The immature feast on those who endlessly forgive without any sanctionsbeing imposed. Thus, the one always forgiving can become an enabler who perpetuates the negatives even as they destroy the relationship.In such a situation, one can still forgive even if one is not willing to go on indefinitely as the victim of abuse.