"Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself." Harriet Nelson
My quote of the day on my iPod has been very (creepily) accurate lately!
Over the course of my high school and college careers, I have learned that forgiveness is truly for your own healing. Although forgiveness can create peace in a situation, the best peace you gain from it is peace within your own heart. It's hard work to hold animosity and bitterness in your heart about any situation. It's hurtful, it's exhausting, and it's time consuming. Why should we continue to dwell on negative incidents from the past when we can focus on our positive present and future? Forgiveness brings peace.
Sometimes, we must forgive others who hurt us even when they don't seek our forgiveness. Should we really hold on to hurt and struggle towards one another just because they don't see a reason for remorse? We are letting the enemy get the best of us when we will not allow ourselves peace by waiting for that apology. It may never come.
However, sometimes those apologies come long after forgiveness was given. Days, maybe even years, can pass by. This actually happened to me yesterday, and I realized that not only does forgiveness give us personal peace, but so do apologies. Of course we should seek forgiveness to admit our wrongdoings, just the way we seek forgiveness to God when we hurt him. However, I always thought an apology was mainly for the other individual. For example, when I say wrong things to my husband, I apologize and seek his forgiveness; but I always felt that I was doing it for him (gladly, but nonetheless, for him) to give him some peace and comfort that I recognize that I hurt him and want to show him that I plan to do better. I never realized that those apologies can also relieve me of my own guilt and remorse.
After a discussion with an old friend from high school yesterday, I realized that a lot was left unsaid that I never put much thought into. I forgave the actions from the incident a long time ago, and while this friend and I lost touch, I never expected an apology. An apology was owed on my end as well, but bitterness and pride prevented us from this for several years. In fact, it had been such a long time that I assumed that forgiveness had already been granted to me as well. However, when I received an apology yesterday afternoon, it was then that I realized that although we indeed had both forgiven each other, my friend felt it necessary to still apologize after all this time to relieve his own guilt and remorse.
We should always offer our remorse and apologies to our family and friends that we hurt. Unfortunately, this does not always happen for one reason or another. However, no matter how much time passes, sometimes offering forgiveness or apologies to something that has hurt us in the past might be exactly what we need to grant us a new kind of peace.