Love and Forgiveness
True forgiveness is like a rainbow – a rare and beautiful gift, precious and elusive. As a child, I was often told that it was important to “forgive and forget.” No one explained that the step of forgetting – of letting go of our hurt and pain – may be even more important than the act of forgiving. I understand that now that it is.
I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness and when I consider the importance of forgiveness in all of the relationships in my life, and in everyone’s life, many questions come to mind…
… Is it actually possible to “let go” of hurt?
… Do the people who have forgiven me “hold on” to the pain or sadness I caused them?
… Have I truly forgiven someone if I re-live, from time to time, the pain or sadness I experienced?
… How do I know, beyond a doubt, that I have been forgiven? How does anyone ever know?
The answers to these questions, and the mechanism for letting go of pain, seem unknowable to me until I add the most essential element in my life: LOVE.
When we love unconditionally, and when this love guides our thoughts about others and our actions towards them, I know it is possible to “forgive and forget.” When we love someone unconditionally, the way we hope they love us, we recognize that in our shared humanity we all make mistakes. We apologize when we sometimes say or do things that hurt others, things we deeply regret. Others apologize when they hurt us. And if we are wise, we choose to love and to let go because if we do not, we continue to feel the pain we experienced or caused, and it remains a heavy burden to carry. Only love can enable us to fully forgive, to let it all go, to drop the burden and move on. Only unconditional love can help us wipe the slate completely clean.
We are all wonderfully imperfect, and in loving and forgiving ourselves and each other, we experience the same sense of awe we feel when suddenly a rainbow appears after a storm. The miracle of a rainbow. The miracle of true forgiveness. The miracle of unconditional love.
Author’s bio: I believe in the power of love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude. And I believe that each of us has an important role in shaping a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world for all.
Kumud’s note: I am delighted that Sharon will be hosting #SpiritChat for all of us on Sunday, April 18 at 9amET / 1pmUTC / 630pm India on twitter. I am so looking forward to “Love and Forgiveness”, and all the grace that emerges from her leading the conversation on this topic. Thank you, Sharon!
Rainbow of Forgiveness – Photo by Sharon Kathryn D’Agostino