Forgiving and letting go of the ways others have hurt you is difficult work. And the difficulty often begins with the word, "Forgiveness." Forgiveness for many people holds an additional connotation of justifying and excusing someone's behavior. This misperception can lead people to hold onto things for longer than they should. Forgiveness is a virtue. Justification is not. Forgiving someone and justifying their behavior are two separate things that only sound similar.
Anger, Like Fire, Doesn't Stay Contained
Forgiveness is the act of letting go of past hurts so that the initial cause of the hurt doesn't continue to damage you. There is a deeper knowledge here that knows holding onto anger is like trying to keep a fire contained inside your mind. It cannot be done. It will spread from the affected area into all the other areas of your life if you don't extinguish it. When the fire goes unchecked for too long, you will see it manifest in the form of profound bitterness as it sequentially destroys each area of your life.
Justification, on the other hand, is a way of making excuses for someone's behavior and, often, means not holding someone accountable for their actions. It's the near enemy of forgiveness because it's so easily confused with the other. When you forgive, you are not justifying or making excuses for someone's behavior. You are not saying what someone did is okay.
Forgiveness says, "I'm letting this go so I can heal and move forward with my life. I will not let what you've done to me rob me of my happiness and my joy. You may have taken one moment or period of time away from me but you cannot have one minute more of my life."
You cannot move forward when you are facing backward. Know the difference between forgiving and justifying. You forgive and let go of past wrongs for you and not the other person.
Mondays – Near Enemies
Many virtues have a near enemy. These near enemies masquerade as the actual skill and are often unhealthy or unhelpful in the long term. Near enemies create a false separation. A true virtue creates a closeness to others or even your best self
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