Forgiveness By Adunke Olatunji



The eleven-letter word is described or defined as the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
While, to forgive could mean stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake. As much as this simple word sounds, it carries more meanings and effects than it looks.

Forgiveness means different things to different people. But in general, it involves an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger.

The world we live is full of ups and downs. Various beliefs with different teachings necessary to promote one virtue or the order. The religion has taken over all communities each with its rules and regulations. Standards are set and no breach is treated with levity. Anyone that crosses the line is punished. Penalties come with different punishment being meted out to any erring law breaker or offender.

Consequently, sinners are seen as individuals culpable and so must go through punitive measures before declared free. It happens in various organisations, groups and establishment. It emphasises the need to say where there is no law there will not be any offence. Constitutions are paramount in applying this concept to a country or corporate entity.


However, forgiveness comes as a way to let go or pardon any offender as he shows remorse.
We were taught as children that “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” were the building blocks to solving conflict with a playmate. If we committed a childhood misdemeanor of some sort, those words would allow us to continue our play. Forgiveness came from those three words that took care of little issues.

But true forgiveness extends beyond words. It means letting go of bitterness and moving forward in freedom—regardless of whether the wrongdoer acknowledges it or apologizes.

So, that person in your mind? Yes, that one. Maybe you came here wondering how you could possibly forgive and move on with your life.

Or, perhaps the person you need to forgive is actually you.

Whatever the case, understanding God’s forgiveness is the start of the journey. His Word provides us with life-changing steps to receive that gift and then give it to others.

Why we need forgiveness?

Think of it this way:
When you were a kid, did you do something you knew you shouldn’t? Maybe you broke something valuable, like your mother’s collectible vase, and then avoided her out of fear she’d be angry at you. Maybe you couldn’t even look her in the eye.

Because you didn’t yet feel a sense of her forgiveness, your relationship with her was affected. Without realizing it, even as a kid, you put up a wall.

The same happens in our relationship with God. If we believe He’s angry or disappointed with us, we stay away. Whatever it was that we did or said, that becomes something between us and God.

We can’t experience a true connection with Him until we have a sense of how far He’s gone to forgive us.

Choosing to forgive, is a choice of your will. When you make that choice your heart is then open and ready for the Lord’s cleansing.

Choosing not to forgive, is also a choice of your will. But the door of your heart is then shut and God will not do His cleansing work.

Are you harboring an unforgiving spirit? What’s preventing you from letting it go? Remember, it is harming you far more than the person who has made you angry. Give it to God and ask Him to cleanse your heart and free you to experience His love and freedom.

And finally, forgiveness releases us from vengeful feelings and helps us grow and move on.

The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you. But working on forgiveness can lessen that act’s grip on you. It can help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Sometimes, forgiveness might even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you. It also doesn’t necessarily mean making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that allows you to focus on yourself and helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to:

Healthier relationships.
Improved mental health.
Less anxiety, stress and hostility.
Fewer symptoms of depression.
Lower blood pressure.
A stronger immune system.
Improved heart health.
Improved self-esteem.
Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?
Being hurt by someone, particularly someone you love and trust, can cause anger, sadness and confusion. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by bitterness or a sense of injustice.

Some people are naturally more forgiving than others. But even if you tend to hold a grudge, almost anyone can learn to be more forgiving.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?
If you struggle with finding forgiveness, you might:

Bring anger and bitterness into new relationships and experiences.
Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present.
Become depressed, irritable or anxious.
Feel at odds with your spiritual beliefs.
Lose valuable and enriching connections with others.
How do I move toward a state of forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a commitment to change. It takes practice. To move toward forgiveness, you might:

Recognize the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life.
Identify what needs healing and who you want to forgive.
Join a support group or see a counselor.
Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you, recognize how those emotions affect your behavior, and work to release them.
Choose to forgive the person who’s offended you.
Release the control and power that the offending person and situation have had in your life.
What happens if I can’t forgive someone?
Forgiveness can be hard, especially if the person who hurt you doesn’t admit wrongdoing. If you find yourself stuck:

Practice empathy. Try seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view.
Ask yourself about the circumstances that may have led the other person to behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
Reflect on times when others have forgiven you.
Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation. Or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.

Be aware that forgiveness is a process. Even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven again and again.

Adunke Olatunji

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