Someone did you wrong and youíre angry; youíre not ... youíre plotting a way to get even.You canít wait tosee that ... and turn the tables on ... do that, too, on a larger scale;
Someone did you wrong and youíre angry; youíre not just angry, youíre plotting a way to get even.You canít wait to see that so-and-so, and turn the tables on him.
Nations do that, too, on a larger scale; Israelis attack Palestinians in retaliation for a Palestinian attack which was revenge for an Israeli attack, which was payback for a Palestinian reprisal, which was...You see where this is going.
We read about similar escalations frequently; perhaps youíve been a party to an extended personal battle with someone. If so, who won? Not who was the last person standing, but who benefited and who lost as a result of the payback cycle?
No one won, if the definition of to win is to feel joy, peace, calm, or any loving emotion. The best we can feel while participating in a continuing cycle of payback is a brief touch of self-satisfaction-nothing like joy. To feel any of the strongly positive emotions requires forgiveness.
What does it mean to forgive? We usually think of forgiveness as a generous act which pardons another person for wrongdoing. In this context, forgiveness is directed toward another, as in "I forgive you for saying hurtful things to me yesterday." The forgiver then feels magnanimous having granted a pardon to the sinner. Often we forgive only after the sinner has contritely apologized; sometimes we forgive expecting the apology.
However, one meaning of forgive is to give up resentment or claim to retaliation. In this context, forgiveness is not about another person-itís about us. When I realize that I feel better when I give up anger and vengeful thinking toward another, it makes sense that forgiveness is something I give to myself, not something I grant to another. What better gift might I give myself than peace, calm, and serenity? We cannot simultaneously feel anger and peace. We cannot be serene while planning revenge.
This definition of forgiveness-to give up resentment-gives meaning to "turn the other cheek." Itís not a passive acceptance of more wrongdoing, itís a turning away from the event altogether. When we give up our resentment and anger, we withdraw energy from the event-without energy, every human act shrivels and dies. Thatís the meaning of the phrase, "what you resist, persists."
When we forgive a perceived wrongdoing by giving up resentment and anger, we withdraw our energy from the past event and preclude a continuing sequence of revenge, retribution, payback, and reprisal-we literally starve the process before it escalates.
Forgiveness is more than a magnanimous act of charity. Forgiveness is a gift to ourselves-a gift of peace, calm, and serenity. Forgive and forget allows us to move on to activities with positive potential-activities with the possibility of joy.
About the author Copywrite 2004, all rights reserved. Jerry Lopper is an author, personal coach, and consultant. His workshops, ebooks, articles, and coaching are available through http://www.YourCoachtoSuccess.com where you can sign up for complimentary articles and coaching. His latest ebook is featured at http://jumpforjoy.yourcoachtosuccess.com.