One of my favorite definitions of forgiveness is: “Giving up a grievance to which we are entitled.”
I’m not sure who penned the original quote, but it’s one that really resonates with me. Often (maybe usually) when we need to forgive someone else we actually have a right to be upset with them. In fact, they may not even be asking for our forgiveness. Or, they may be asking, but we don’t feel it’s sincere. Regardless, the actions of others should not dictate our behavior.
There is a hymn that really helps me in understanding forgiveness better. The verse that is pertinent goes: “Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see. Who am I to judge another; Lord, I would follow thee.” -Susan Evans McCloud
The song is a good reminder that I’m certainly not perfect; hence, forgiveness gives me an opportunity to forgive others who are also imperfect. Plus, the Savior is our greatest example of someone who forgave.
Obviously forgiveness is one of those concepts that sounds much easier in theory than practice. But it’s worth practicing because holding grudges end up becoming burdens we carry through life. I’m teaching the Young Women lesson today in church on forgiveness and it’s been a good topic for me to mull over this week.
“Developing a forgiving heart will do far more for us than it will for the person who has hurt us.” -Rabbi Harold Kushner