The Art of Forgiveness
Wilferd A. Peterson

  

The art of forgiveness begins when you forgive someone.

It is having a humble spirit and being done with pride and self-pity.  It is taking a step toward the practice of forgiveness.  Hate is death, forgiveness is life.

Forgiveness works the miracle of change.  When Lincoln was asked why he did not destroy his enemies he replied:  "If I make my enemies my friends, don't I then destroy them?"  When you forgive you change others and you change yourself.  You change discord to harmony.

Forgiveness should span the years.  You should first forgive yourself for the wrongs you've done to yourself and others, for the mistakes you've made.  Then you should forgive and bless all those who have wronged you during your lifetime.  Thus you release others and you release yourself.  You break the chains of regret and remorse that bind you.  You free your mind from the burdens of the past so you may walk victoriously into the future.

Forgiveness works two ways.  You must forgive to be forgiven.  "He who cannot forgive others," wrote Edward Herbert, "breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass; for every man has the need to be forgiven."

Forgiveness should become a habit.  When the Master was asked how often we should forgive, he answered:  "Until seventy time seven."  He who forgives to infinity will never hate.

Forgiveness should start now.  Putting off forgiving only deepens the wound.  Clinging to bitterness postpones happiness.  Life is short, time is fleeting.  Today is the day to forgive.

Forgiveness is the way to personal peace.  It is performing mental surgery on yourself, probing deep within to remove hurts, grudges, and resentments.  It is forgetting wrongs as though they had never been.  It is flooding your mind with the powerful medicine of forgiveness that cleanses and heals.  It is discovering a serenity you've never known before.


copyright 1966 by Wilferd A Peterson.  Wilferd was born in Whitehall, MI, and spent his boyhood in Muskegon.  He was an advertising executive who also wrote and lectured on the Art of Living.

  
  

The process of forgiveness—indeed, the chief reason for forgiveness—is selfish.
The reason to forgive others is not for their sake.  They are not likely to know
that they need to be forgiven.  They’re not likely to remember their offense.
They are likely to say, “You just made it up.”  They may even be dead.  The reason
to forgive is for our own sake.  For our own health.  Because beyond that point needed
for healing, if we hold on to our anger, we stop growing and our souls begin to shrivel.

M. Scott Peck

  


  
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