Forgiveness… What’s It For?

“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” – Mother Theresa

Forgiveness works! It is often difficult, AND it works!

We often think of forgiveness as something that someone who has done us wrong must ask of US. There is always another way of looking at something. My thoughts on forgiveness suggest that you focus on offering forgiveness TO the person who has wronged you. To not forgive them is like taking the poison (continuing to suffer for what they did or didn’t do to you) and expecting THEM to die!

Someone once said, “To err is human, to forgive is Divine.” Believe it! Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do FOR someone else.

It is not complicated. It is simple. Simply identify the situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: “Am I willing to waste my energy further on this matter?” If the answer is “No,” then that’s it! All is forgiven.

Telling someone is a bonus! It is not necessary for forgiveness to begin the process that heals the hurt.

Choice is always present in forgiveness. You do not have to forgive AND there are consequences. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal can make your own life miserable. There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing!

When you forgive you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never forgiven… owns you! Just because you choose to forgive, does not mean you have to stay in the relationship. That is only and always your choice. The choice to forgive is only and always yours.

When you feel that forgiveness is necessary, do not forgive for your their sake. Do it for yourself! It would be great if they would come to you and ask forgiveness but you must accept the fact that some people will never do that. That is their choice. They do not NEED to be forgiven. They did what they did and that is it – except for the consequences, which THEY must live with.

The hurts won’t heal until you forgive! Focus your energy on the healing, not the hurt! HEALTHY love relationships are not possible without forgiveness! You cannot have a loving and rewarding relationship with anyone else, much less yourself, if you continue to hold on to things that happened in the past.

Regardless of the situation, making peace with past love partners, your parents, children, your boss or anyone who you think may have “done you wrong” is the only way to improve your chances of a “healthy” relationship with yourself or anyone else for that matter!

It is not possible to truly be present and available to a new relationship until you heal the hurt and upsets of the past. Forgiving someone else is to agree within yourself to overlook the wrong they have committed against you and to move on with your life. It’s the only way. It means cutting them some slack.

“What?” you say! “Cut them some slack after what THEY did to me? Never!” Let go! Move on!

“The things that two people in love do to each other they remember. And if they stay together, it is not because they forget, it is because they forgive.” From the movie, Indecent Proposal

Forgive and forget is a myth. You may never forget AND you can choose to forgive. As life goes on and you remember, then is the time to once again remember that you have already forgiven. Mentally forgive again if necessary, then move forward. Given time, the memory of the pain will fade.

There is no future in the past. You can never live in the present and create a new and exciting future for yourself and your love partner if you always stay stuck in the past.

You CAN let go… and forgive! It takes no strength to let go… only courage. The same energy you use to hold on (to not forgive), is the same energy you need to create a new and exciting relationship TOGETHER; a relationship anchored in unconditional love.

Forgiveness helps you move forward. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. Forgiveness releases your partner from your criticism and also releases you from being imprisoned by your own negative judgments. In affect, it takes the poison our of your body. It cleanses your system of the poison that will surely fester and cause illness and continued misery if not released.

You cannot take the poison and expect someone else to die. They will go on with their life and you will be the only one to continue to suffer. Forgiveness is the key to your own happiness.

Forgiving someone else takes moral courage. It ends the illusion of separation, and its power can change misery into happiness in an instant. Forgiveness means choosing to let go, move on, and favor the positive.

Forgiveness. What it’s for? It creates the freedom to create a new future beginning now!

“One pardons to the degree that one loves.” Francios De La Rochefoucauld

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness.” Peter Ustinov

“Genuine forgiveness is participation, reunion overcoming the powers of estrangement. . . We cannot love unless we have accepted forgiveness, and the deeper our experience of forgiveness is, the greater is our love.” Paul Tillich

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller

Copyright c MCMXCV – Larry James. Reprinted with permission.

This article is adapted from Larry’s books, LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing! and How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship (Career Assurance Press).
Author Larry James is also a professional speaker. He presents “Relationship Enrichment LoveShops” nationally for singles and couples.

Larry is on staff with Dr. John Gray, Ph.D. and hosts the “Mars & Venus Chat Room” on America Online. For information or to order a personally autographed book call: 800 725-9223. Career Assurance Network, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. E-Mail: Or visit: Celebrate Love!