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Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Power of Forgiveness

The other day I had to forgive someone for something they did that offended me. I have been on both sides of the spectrum. There are times when I have had to ask someone to forgive me as well. It is a humbling measure that keeps things in balance. No one is always right or without mistake no matter how together they may seem. Besides it is human nature to do things that are common to you that may be uncommon to others. The very act of doing what seems perfectly fine to you may in itself offend someone else unintentionally.

Forgiveness is a tool that when utilized can help heal, mend, and repair broken relationships. Any amount of healthy communication is going to involve forgiveness at some point. Have you ever been in an offensive situation at the office, school, or at home? It alters the work environment, class situations, and daily living. You tend to do everything you can to avoid or stay away from people that offend you.

From the work place to family life, forgiveness can be a key to remaining healthy and keeping your business and or the community healthy. Offenses come in a variety of ways. When masked or not dealt with they tend to fester into other less manageable situations that leave people hurt, scarred, and alienated for years.
Studies have been done more recently that highlight the physical impact of unforgiveness. Health researchers (from Mayo Clinic) have defined forgiveness as a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of the action of revenge.
Forgiveness lessens the stronghold of the offense and gives the individual that hurt you less power to manipulate your life and well being. Everyone benefits from one person’s decision to forgive.

How many people do you know that are still holding a grudge against someone else? They carry that baggage from year to year and build a wall that won’t allow them to communicate with certain people without intervention by individuals who understand the need for a change.

Forgiveness needs to happen on several levels within our own community. It needs to happen in our homes, and at our places of employment.
What would happen if in a small town like Anderson people would begin to forgive each other? Forgive each other for past wrongs, for offenses at work or between companies or employees, and for offenses committed between feuding families. What if instead of talking to others about the individual that hurt you, you went to them with your offense?

If I could start an epidemic that was far reaching it might just be that somehow I influence you and others to forgive more often. It is a challenge that would cost us all something, but the benefits far outweigh the cost.

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