June 26th is Forgiveness Day – a day to forgive others who have wronged you and a day for seeking forgiveness from those you have wronged…finally, it’s a day to forgive yourself.
Forgiving others is hard to do when you are hurting, but it is also the most therapeutic. When you forgive someone you are able to let it go, to move forward. Keep in mind that you can forgive someone without being required to keep them in your life. If, for your own safety or emotional well-being, you need to separate yourself from someone then do so, but do it without allowing any lingering resentment or anger to exist toward that person in your heart. However, keep in mind that justice isn’t a prerequisite for forgiveness. Chances are, justice may not be served during this lifetime, but you can rest assured that at some point the perfect judge himself will make sure that justice is served. And for those people you forgive and keep in your life, allow the past to stay in the past. Don’t continuously think about it or remind them of it, not as a favor to them, but as a favor to yourself. When you let the memory go you have fully forgiven. Forgive others because one day you will need God to do the same for you.
Seeking out forgiveness from those you have wronged can feel intimidating, embarrassing, and even scary. And it takes a tremendous amount of humility to admit you were wrong and to ask forgiveness. But once you have the burden comes off your shoulders, whether the other person accepts your apology or not. Just knowing that you did your best to make things better is a load off that lets you breathe easier and lets you hold your head up high knowing that you’ve done the right thing.
Finally, forgiving ourselves…well, that there is often the hardest thing to do, but its just as imperative as the other two. If you’ve done what you can to be better…if you’ve learned from your past mistakes… take comfort in knowing God isn’t expecting perfection from you – He’s only expecting you to keep working toward it…so if you are doing that then you are enough.
The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.” – unknown
~Amy Rees Anderson (my new book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” is available on Amazon)