Forgiving does not mean forgetting. When we forgive a person, the memory of the wound might stay with us for a long time, even through out our lives. Sometimes we carry the memory in our bodies as a visible sign. But forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. When we forgive our parents for their divorce, our children for their lack of attention, our friends for their unfaithfulness in crisis, our doctors for their ill advice, we no longer have to experience ourselves as the victims of events we had no control over.I really like the point that, through forgiveness, we are no longer victims. I also think that an important point is the empowering aspect of forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard but it is truly worth cultivating. It can mean the difference between a liberated life and one that is marked by bitterness. I'll take the liberation any day!
Forgiveness allows us to claim our own power and not let these events destroy us; it enables them to become events that deepen the wisdom of our hearts. Forgiveness indeed heals memories.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Linda Cole regularly sends me "meditations" (in this usage: brief, reflective essays) from the writings of Henri Nouwen. Here's one on forgiveness that I thought was particularly good: