Forgiveness is not the easiest thing in the world.
Even though I know about the power and necessity of
forgiveness in our lives, I still find it difficult
sometimes to let go of something that another person has
done to me and to move on, not letting that something
bother me any longer. What Thomas says here, though,
makes me stop and think every time I read it--for if I'm
going to keep doing things for which I need to be forgiven
by others, who am I not to forgive others when I perceive
that something wrong has been done?
How many bridges have I burned by treating another person
in an unforgiving manner? How many times has my
pride or my ego or my stubbornness interfered with the
very important process of forgiving another person
something that he or she has done? It definitely
happens in my life, because one of the things I learned
very early in life was how to hold a grudge, and it's a
lesson that still hangs on despite my attempts to banish
it from my life.
So how do I break free of this tendency? I don't
know. The most important thing for me, though, is to
be aware of the fact that I do, indeed, have the
tendency. Other people may do things that harm me,
but if I hold on to the anger or resentment for those
things, then I'm only hurting myself. What they've
done is over. I don't have to be best friends with
them or invite them to dinner or take a vacation with
them--in fact, I don't even have to ever talk to them
again--but I do need to forgive them if I'm to find my own
peace of mind.
It almost feels like a bank account. My forgiveness
of others gives me a balance that I can rely on when I
need to be forgiven by someone else. But if I don't
forgive others, I'm leaving an empty account so that when I
need to call on it, there's nothing there but a bridge
that's been burned and that's useless to me.