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What Is Forgiveness

Forgiveness helps you move forward. No one benefits from forgiveness more than the one who forgives..

Tina S
Tina S
Dec 21, 2009
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Psychology



One of the most important issues that we all face in life is the question of forgiveness. It is important because, whatever our reputation in moral matters, we will never be free of the need of receiving forgiveness from God and from one another, and also of giving it to one another. Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment.
We are free in forgiveness to renew renewed relationships - as friends and co-workers and family and lovers.


What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the miracle of a new beginning. It is to start where we are, not where we wish we were, or the other person was. It is to hold out a hand; to want to renew a friendship; to want a new relationship with husband, father, daughter, friend, or indeed enemy. It may not take away the hurt. It does not deny the past injury. It does not ignore the possibility and need for repentance and a change in the relationship.
Forgiveness means that we are not going to allow the experiences of the past to dominate our future.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

In the Bible:
 
It is not uncommon for Christians to have questions about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not come easy for most of us. Our natural instinct is to recoil in self-protection when we've been injured. We don't naturally overflow with mercy, grace and forgiveness when we've been wronged.
 
I believe God honors our commitment to obey Him and our desire to please him when we choose to forgive. He completes the work in his time. We must continue to forgive (our job), by faith, until the work of forgiveness (the Lord's job), is done in our hearts.
 
Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
 
Luke 6:37
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
The best reason to forgive is because Jesus commanded us to forgive. We learn from Scripture, if we don't forgive, neither will we be forgiven:

Matthew 6:14-16
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
We also forgive so that our prayers will not be hindered:

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
 

 

In Islam

 
The Qur'an makes it clear that, whenever possible, it is better to forgive another than to attack another. The Qur'an describes the believers (Muslims) as those who, avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive. (Qur'an 42:37) and says that Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust. (Qur'an 42:40).
 
To receive forgiveness from God there are three requirements:
1.
Recognizing the offense itself and its admission before God.
2. Making a commitment not to repeat the offense.
3. Asking for forgiveness from God.
 
Islamic teaching presents the Prophet Muhammad as an example of someone who would forgive others for their ignorance, even those who might have once considered themselves to be his enemies. One example of Muhammad's practice of forgiveness can be found in the Hadith, the body of early Islamic literature about the life of Muhammad. This account is as follows:
 
Forgiveness is not avoidance
 
Forgiveness is not making light of something we find hurtful. Being the imperfect people we are, there are constantly things that happen between us and others that are minor irritations. We can ignore these.
However, when the hurt is real, it is not helpful to say "It doesn't matter", or to make light of something that is basically wrong. That is being dishonest. Where a relationship is spoiled, something more is necessary.

Forgiveness is not excusing
 
Forgiveness is not denying that the one who has caused the hurt is responsible for their actions. There is a place for making allowances for people's behaviour. However, there is a tendency today to err too much in that direction. It is true that some people are more "sinned against" than sinning, but to deny responsibility for the choices we make is to lessen our dignity as human beings.
We are beings created in the image of God who calls us to account for our moral choices. Invariably we mess things up, but if we are to grow we must accept responsibility for our own part in that process.

Forgiveness can be a gift that we give to ourselves. Here are some easy steps towards forgiveness:
 
• Acknowledge your own inner pain.

• Express those emotions in non-hurtful ways without yelling or attacking.

• Protect yourself from further victimization.

• Try to understand the point of view and motivations of the person to be forgiven; replace anger with compassion.

• Forgive yourself for your role in the relationship.

• Decide whether to remain in the relationship.

 

• Perform the overt act of forgiveness verbally or in writing. If the person is dead or unreachable, you can still write down your feelings in letter form.


Forgiveness and reconciliation:
 
To be unforgiving is harmful. The inability to come to terms with one’s anger or strife often can lead to stress disorders, mental health disorders, and relationship problems. Forgiveness is a personal decision. Forgiveness and Reconciliation focuses on individual experiences with forgiveness, aiming to create a theory of what forgiveness is and connect it to a clinical theory of how to promote forgiveness.
 
Forgiveness is not merely a soft attitude toward a harsh fact; forgiveness is the vital action of love, seeking to restore the harmony that has been shattered.



 
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