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The Gift of Forgiveness – for”give”ness is a gift we give ourselves.

Lewis Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Many of us carry some anger, resentment, jealousy or other negative emotion toward others. Sometimes we continue to harbor these emotions long after a person is no longer in our lives.

Negative emotions are like an anchor around your neck that weighs you down. Such emotions will affect both the quality of your life and your health. Not only does negativity affect you, but it is contagious and affects everyone around you, especially those who are closest to you.

The baser emotions like anger, hatred and unforgiveness block the higher emotions of love, joy and compassion. That simply means you cannot rise to highest levels of love, joy and health when you are chained down by unforgiveness.

Dr. J.A. Salaam said, “In order to increase, you must release.”

Catherine Ponder said, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and set yourself free.”

Seldom do people make the connection between emotional traumas in their lives and how they feel physically and spiritually. What is even less easy to see is how the fine threads of everyday frustrations join together and become a powerful rope that holds you captive and separates you from a richer, healthier and more joyful life.

Forgiveness is the act of unchaining yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to an offense that was committed against you and much of the time these offenses are only imagined because the offender had no intention of doing so.

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of growth and change. Forgiveness is a creative act. Forgiveness lets the prisoners of the past go free. Not only does it bless him or her that hurt you, more importantly it liberates you and leaves you at peace with your memories.

There is no past, there are only memories of the past and when we live in memories and emotions of the past, it blocks the abundance that could be our future. The first step to forgiveness is to recognize the positive impact it can have on your life.

When you forgive, you stop playing the victim and you release all of the power and the control, which the offending person has had over you. You no longer define your life by how you have been hurt, but instead define yourself by how much you have grown.

Cherie Carter-Scott said, “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.”

Life never remains static – it either expands or contracts in direct proportion to your courage to forgive. Forgiveness is the most important single process that brings peace into your life.

Forgiveness has two parts: The lesser part is to forgive others. The greater part is to forgive you for allowing yourself to be bound to negative emotions. Only when you unchain yourself can you fly to greater heights and reach your greater potential.

Affirmations can be a good way to start the process of forgiving. Here is an example: “I now forgive myself for the times I allowed myself to be chained down by “judgment” and “unforgiveness” – I now release all judgment and I forgive all persons who have offended me throughout my lifetime.”

William Shakespeare said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

The word “give” in forgiveness is not only a gift you give to others; is a gift that you give to yourself.

All of us receive offenses and at some point, all of us have struggled with forgiveness – I know that I have, and in most cases it takes a conscious effort to forgive.

When the Roman Centurions drove nails into the hands and feet of Jesus, he said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Neither do those who sin against us understand the eternal consequences of their sins and we should likewise forgive them. In fact, Christ said that he will forgive “whomsoever” he will forgive, but we are commanded to forgive “seventy times seven” those who sin against us. When we fail to forgive, we knowingly break this commandment and we essentially consent to the crucifixion of Jesus.

Our cross in life is to be obedient to God’s will and to learn to love and forgive others.

We will either learn to carry our cross or be crushed by it and our hatred toward others will always hurt us more than the person we are holding a grudge against.

Pray then like this: My Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come into my heart, into my mind, into my spirit, into my business, into my home, into each member of my immediate family and into the hearts and minds of the entire human family. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me this day my daily bread; guide and strengthen me as I work to put food on my table and on the tables of others who stand in need of my help. Give me life more abundantly; give me an overflowing abundance of love, peace, joy, hope, confidence, ability and boldness. Renew my body and give me infinite health and youthfulness. Increase my memory and give me the ability to instantly recall things that I need to remember. Heal my eyes and improve my vision both physically and spiritually, that I may clearly see all things present and future for my own good and for the good of the people that I serve. Give me strength and wisdom to be a force for the good of mankind. Give me inspiration to know and do thy will in all things and in all ways and make me all that you want me to be. Help me to love my fellow man with infinite, perfect love and forgive my trespasses, sins and debts as I forgive those who trespass against me. Thank you Lord for your mercies toward me a sinner, and thank you for making me aware of my sins and making me shrink in the sight of sin. I hate the fact that my heart and thoughts are not yet totally pure and I offer my entire being up to you Lord and ask you to replace my evil nature with holy thoughts and a pure heart. Help me to avoid temptation and deliver me from any evil that comes against me. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Any “act” of unforgiveness is equal to the “act” or offense that was committed against you. If you were robbed and fail to forgive, it is as if you were the robber. If you were abused and fail to forgive, it is as if you were the abuser.

And as Christ was able to say, “forgive them for they know not what they do” let us also forgive those who have offended in the past, as well as those who now daily offend us.

The natural reaction is to think or say, “But you don’t understand how much it hurt me.” No buts, your situation is not unique! Decide this day to be strong! Forgive and set yourself free!

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.

Forgive – let go – and let God into your life!

Repeat this affirmation often. “I now forgive all persons who have offended me throughout my life and I now forgive myself for allowing myself to be chained down by unforgiveness.”

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