June 22      

Today's quotation:

There's no point in burying a hatchet if you're going to put up a marker on the site.

Sydney Harris

Today's Meditation:

What is forgiveness worth if we're not truly willing to forgive?  How are we helping ourselves or anyone else if we just hold on to resentment and anger?  I've seen plenty of people who say that they've forgiven someone, but who hold on to the memories of that person's "transgressions" to use against him or her the very first time that they feel the need to be angry.

Forgiveness should be starting over.  Completely.  It should be as if we were meeting someone new, without any biases or preconceived notions about what this person might have done before.  Burying the hatchet allows us to focus on the good things that this person does and says rather than on the things that have upset us.  And we never should say that we're burying the hatchet if we plan on remembering where it is so that we can dig it up later when we want to use it against someone.  If we do so, we really haven't forgiven at all, have we?  And how can we be helping anyone-- ourselves included-- if our forgiveness isn't genuine or sincere?

Of course, there are situations in which we forgive someone but don't continue to have any contact with that person at all.  But those situations aren't what Sydney is talking about.

If we feel the temptation to forgive conditionally, to mark the site of the transgression, then it's time that we step back and examine our motives for doing what we're thinking of doing.  Not only will we be fooling ourselves now into thinking that we've put something behind us, but we'll also be setting up ourselves-- and someone else-- for a great deal of disappointment in the future.  The only way to avoid that is by forgiving completely and unconditionally, and if we're not ready to do so then we need to wait until we are.

Questions to consider:

Why might people want to hold on to anger and resentment?

What does "burying the hatchet" mean to you?

How often do you witness truly unconditional forgiveness?

For further thought:

Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping,  always make you less than you are.

Malcolm Forbes

more thoughts and ideas on forgiveness



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