Forgiveness is hard. There is no way getting around it. There are quotes on how having an unforgiving heart only hurts the person not forgiving. In the end, finding forgiveness is a journey like grief that is personal and can vary in length for each person. Embracing forgiveness in all of its incarnations is important for growth and survival.
1. Watching other people forgive in the face of horrible tragedy is one way that I learn to try and forgive. In the recent weeks, I was staggered to watch the Charleston church members almost instantly forgive the seemingly unforgivable massacre of their church members.
2. A visit to the Holocaust Museum showed me how even people targeted in the Holocaust forgave and are still forgiving. My little moments of feeling unforgiveness in my heart were far eclipsed when I listened to Holocaust survivors speak of the hope and forgiveness they feel even to this day. Many of them had lost their entire families but were still full of forgiveness and hope for the future.
3. That continual hope for the future is a huge part of embracing forgiveness.If we get caught up in the idea that that world is all evil or out to get us; that hope can feel so far away. Losing that hope and faith in other other people can be the start of depression.
4. The very concept of Global Forgiveness Day speaks to the the fact that we need to work to forgive everyone, everywhere. That sounds like a very tall order that only Mother Teresa or Ghandi could achieve – However, both of them spoke of love and forgiveness for everyone.
5. By thinking of everyone around the world as candidates of forgiveness, it sounds like a huge pool of people to forgive; and yet, in the same vein makes it all more human and pointed for me. If I start with forgiving even just just a neighbor or friend or political figure or family member, I am still part of the global effort of forgiveness.
6. For many people (me included), faith plays a huge part of forgiving. It is hard to hold up a divine being as a forgiveness example but I believe that on global forgiveness day and every day that faith in being forgiving yourself is crucial to forgiving others.
7. The last reason I offer to embrace Global Forgiveness Day may be the most selfish. I would like others to forgive me for my flawed actions. I have to think that by offering forgiveness that there might be some return forgiveness someday in my direction.
In the end, forgiveness can’t be forced or begged for or even fought for. It must must be earned in some simple human way. Whether that is an apology or no apology at all; every human must look in their own heart to find the source of forgiveness. On Global Forgiveness Day that celebrates that human nature to forgive, may we all reach a little deeper to do just that–forgive.