Larry James' BLOG

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Forgiveness… What’s it For?

Filed under: Forgiveness — Larry James @ 8:00 am

LoveNote. . . Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be changed. ~ Oprah Winfrey

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!

Torn piece of paper with the word "Forgive" in the woman's palms.


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

Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human; to forgive, 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.

Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it.

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

forgivenessTelling someone is a bonus! It is not necessary for forgiveness to begin the process that heals the hurt. Forgiveness has little or nothing to do with another person because forgiveness is an internal matter.

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. A vindictive mind-set creates bitterness and lets the betrayer claim one more victim.

There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing!

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Some will argue that in the case of child abuse, the Holocaust, Saddam Hussain, 9-11, etc, the abuser has no “right” to forgiveness — such blessings can only be earned — that forgiveness only leads to further victimization. Such acts are heinous and despicable and with time (and in many cases, therapy and coaching) they can be forgiven. Every day you may have to forgive again.

The greatest misconception about forgiveness is the belief that forgiving the offense, such as an affair, means that you condone it. Not true. In fact, we can only forgive what we know to be wrong. Forgiveness does not mean that you have to reconcile with someone who badly treated you.

Another misconception is that it depends on whether the person who did you wrong apologizes, wants you back, or changes his or her ways. If another person’s poor behavior were the primary determinant for your healing then the unkind and selfish people in your life would retain power over you indefinitely. Forgiveness is the experience of finding peace inside and can neither be compelled nor stopped by another.

I believe that to withhold forgiveness is to choose to continue to remain the victim. Remember, you always have choice.

When you forgive you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never forgiven. . . owns you! How about an affair? 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 “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! Recovery from wrongdoing that produces genuine forgiveness takes time. For some, it may take years. Don’t rush it. Constantly reliving your wounded feelings gives the person who caused you pain power over you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt, it helps to focus your energy on the healing, not the hurt!

“Forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born in your heart.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master

Compassion is one of the key ingredients of forgiveness. Learn to look for and appreciate the love, beauty and kindness around you. It’s there, and you may have to change your thinking and behavior to discover it. To have compassion for others, you must first have compassion for yourself.

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!

Non-forgiveness keeps you in the struggle. Being willing to forgive can bring a sense of peace and well-being. It lifts anxiety and delivers you from depression. It can enhance your self-esteem and give you hope.

LoveNote. . . 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+but+not+ForgetForgive and forget is a myth.

“Forgiveness allows us to let go of the pain in the memory and if we let go of the pain in the memory we can have the memory but it does not control us. When memory controls us we are then the puppets of the past.” ~ Alexandra Asseily, author of “The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut”

Forgiveness is a journey. You may never forget AND you can choose to forgive. You can forgive and tomorrow you may feel the pain all over again. As life goes on and you choose to remember and feel the pain, then is the time to once again remember that you have already forgiven. Mentally forgive again if necessary, then move forward. When we allow it, time can dull the vividness of the memory of the hurt; the memory will eventually fade.

Always remember that you are human. Sometimes people do and say hurtful things. It is important to focus on what you have done to learn from the experience. Forgive what hurt you in the past but never forget the lesson it taught you.

“In this life. . . we are unable to forget whatever remains unforgiven. So, if we won’t let go of some pain – whose time has now past – then who is to blame for the weight of this burden still being carried on our back?” ~ Guy Finley

Forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to liberated people at peace with our memories. It is not forgetfulness, but it involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on memories of past injury.

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.

Begin again! It is truly impossible to start new and to make clear, healthy, life giving choices until we have let go of past hurts, confusion and resentments. Old wounds have a drawing power and pull our attention to them over and over, taking energy and hope from us, preventing us from starting again. Old wounds raise fearful spectres of the same thing happening again in the future. For this reason it is so important to spend time understanding the true nature of forgiveness, and what it really entails.

To forgive means to “give up”, to let go. It also means to restore oneself to basic goodness and health. When we forgive, we are willing to give up resentment, revenge and obsession. We are willing to restore faith not only in ourselves, but in life itself. The inability or unwillingness to do this, causes harm in the one who is holding onto the anger.

“The only upside of anger is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they are not afraid of the journey. Someone that knows that the truth, is at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and sits and in it’s wake leaves a new chance of acceptance and the promise of calm.” ~ From the movie, “The Upside of Anger” starring Kevin Coster and Joan Allen

If you are at war with others you cannot be at peace with yourself. You CAN let go. . . and forgive! It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. Life either expands or contracts in direct proportion to your courage to forgive. Your choice to forgive or not to forgive either moves you closer to what you desire or further away from it. There is no middle ground. Change is constant.

forgivemistakesWant peace of mind? Forgive. 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 is the most important single process that brings peace to our soul and harmony to our life. All of us, at some point in our lives, have been hurt and wounded by the actions or words of another. Sometimes the grievances have been so great we thought, “no way, this I cannot forgive!” Resentment and hostility can run so deep that forgiveness becomes very difficult. We feel we have a right to our indignation!

However, living from resentment takes so much effort. It creates a tremendous void in and around us. All the toxic feelings of hatred and resentment stay bottled up inside and eventually seep into all the areas of our life with the result that we become bitter, angry, unhappy and frustrated. And so, living from forgiveness becomes a necessity. Not that this is easy; it isn’t. But we cannot keep ourselves in the flow of good if we hold another in unforgiveness.

“Forgiveness is essential to all relationships. But it is not unconditional. It comes with the tacit understanding that if the hurtful behavior happens too many times, forgiveness is revoked and the relationship will end. Always avoid doing those things for which an apology and forgiveness are required.” ~ Shela Dean, Author of “Frequent Foreplay Miles

Forgiveness is not something we have to do, but something we must allow to flow through us. When we step away from the consciousness of our human nature, and allow the divine or God’s grace to express through us, to forgive through us, we can at that point, feel the radiant and warm rays of the flow of divine love dissolving all hurt, all bitterness, all sense of injustice. We become aware that we are free and we can project that love outward into our world.

Forgiveness helps you move forward. No one benefits from forgiveness more than the one who forgives!

Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. The very word forgiveness is built on the root word give. Forgiveness releases your partner from your criticism and also releases you from being imprisoned by your own negative judgments. It is not surrender, but a conscious decision to cease to harbor resentment. 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.

“God’s forgiveness is not necessary, because God understands all of us – and all of our behaviors – perfectly. And God sees each of us and each of our behaviors as manifestations and demonstrations of life’s evolutionary process.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

LoveNote. . . You know you have forgiven someone when he or she has harmless passage through your mind. – Rev. Karyl Huntley

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 is a form of love within the context of a personal crisis. To forgive is, in a sense, to love one’s enemy. When forgiveness is given because you think you should, it no longer is forgiveness but an act of self- interest.

“There are those who will tell you why it is wise to never forget the pain of the past. . . but if you look closely at the anger, sorrow, and bitterness that has hardened their faces, then you will also see why learning to forgive is the better of the two paths.” ~ Guy Finley

The act of forgiveness constitutes a mental bath, letting go of something that can only poison us within.

Robert Enright, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin defines forgiveness as “giving up the resentment to which you are entitled and offering to the person who hurt you friendlier attitudes to which they are not entitled.”

Mona Gustafson Affinito says, “Forgiveness means deciding not to punish a perceived injustice, taking action on that decision, and experiencing the emotional relief that follows.”

It is important to recognize that your distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you five minutes ago or five years ago. Research has shown that people who are deeply and unjustly hurt by others can heal emotionally and, in some cases, physically by forgiving their offender.

revengeFORGIVEForgiveness breaks the cycle of hatred, resentment, anger and pain that is often passed on to those around you. Forgiveness helps you make peace with your past.

Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge. The only people you should ever want to get even with are those who have helped you.

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

“After forgiveness, comes love. In your heart and spirit you are a beautiful person – is there anything so unforgivable that should keep you connected in an emotional bondage to person or condition? Standing here on the edge of enlightenment, you can choose to play small and remain where you are or you can dive into the heart of love and experience a life more beautiful than you’ve ever known.”~ Steven Connor

UpDated: Researchers and academics may have an answer for those who do not believe that the act of forgiveness is good for the soul. Scientists have gotten interested in the health benefits of forgiveness. Their studies have shown the serious mental, emotional and physical consequences of an unforgiving heart.

In some studies, forgiveness has been linked to a lessening of chronic back pain and depression; in others to reduce levels of stress hormones. Scientist have also found that forgiveness is one of several coping mechanisms that help people with HIV/AIDS live longer, or at least more satisfying lives.

“It takes much more courage, strength of character, and inner conviction to forgive than it does to hang on to low-energy feelings.” ~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Prayer for Forgiveness. . .

#1 – Living, loving Spirit, let me practice forgiveness today by starting with the little hurts. I will let go of all the everyday occurrences that do not go the way I want, and the moment I begin to feel the familiar feeling of anger or resentment, I will practice forgiveness by invoking your loving and peaceful Presence and allowing divine grace to surround me. And so it is.

#2 – Living, loving Presence, I enter this moment of silence and consciously make the decision to unburden and detach myself from the painful memories of the past. I release to you everything that holds me back from my spiritual journey. I feel your power working in and through me in forgiving and letting go all that needs to be forgiven and released. And so it is.

LoveNote. . . One pardons to the degree that one loves. – Francios De La Rochefoucauld

LoveNote. . . Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. – Thich Nhat Hanh

LoveNote. . . Love is an act of endless forgiveness. – Peter Ustinov

LoveNote. . . 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

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

LoveNote. . . The practice of forgiveness is a way by which we achieve inner peace… and, by definition means letting go of the past and therefore is the gateway to the future. – Mack Newton

forgivenessquoteLoveNote. . . You know you have forgiven someone when he or she has harmless passage through your mind. – Rev. Karyl Huntley

LoveNote. . . Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. – Mark Twain

LoveNote. . . Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much. – Oscar Wilde

LoveNote. . . “When you forgive, you essentially undo the ability to blame.” When you stop blaming yourself, you start to like yourself and you’re much more fun to be around. You get your power back over your life. That is the power of forgiveness. – Eldon Taylor

LoveNote. . . There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness. – Josh Billings

LoveNote. . . The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

LoveNote. . . When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. – Catherine Ponder

LoveNote. . . One of the most lasting pleasures you can experience is the feeling that comes over you when you genuinely forgive an enemy – whether he know about it or not. – A. Battista

LoveNote. . . Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past. – Alexa Young

LoveNote. . . Asking for forgiveness and forgiving others is a complicated process that inovlves our deepest empathy, humanity and wisdom. Historically we have found that without forgiveness there can be no lasting love; no change, no growth, no real freedom. It is important, then, for those who care about lasting relationshps to better understand the dynamics of forgiveness. – Leo Buscaglia

LoveNote. . . Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. – Roberto Assagioli

LoveNote. . . As long as you are blaming anyone else for anything, you are giving away your power and creating more negative effects in your life. This is the secret behind the Hawaiian practice of ho’oponopono, popularized by Joe Vitale in his book, “Zero Limits.”

BONUS Articles: How to Forgive Your Past Relationship

forgivenessCLoveLOGOCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – and

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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