“There is no point in burying a hatchet if you are going to put up a marker on the site.” ~
Sydney J. Harris …
Many times, we say we forgive someone, when in reality, we have only set aside our anger and vengefulness in a place where we can easily pick it back up if need be. But what is forgiveness worth if we are not truly willing to bury the hatchet? And more importantly, what does holding onto the anger and resentment actually do to us?
Being unable or unwilling to forgive others is a slow poison to our souls. For when we choose to hold on to the offenses and negative emotions that plague us inside, we become like festering sores that grow and spread to others around us. True forgiveness, on the other hand, frees everyone involved from the weight and the wounds that poison our souls.
Forgiveness does not mean that you deny a person responsibility for hurting you. Nor does it minimize or justify the wrong–you can forgive the person without excusing the act. Instead, forgiveness brings a peace into your heart and provides freedom to go on with life. It is starting over fresh–kind of like meeting someone for the first time–there are no biases or preconceived notions that may cause us to pass judgment for something they might have done before. It is burying the hatchet, for the last time, and not planning to remember where it is so that we can dig it up later when we want to use it against someone. This requires us to focus on the good things that an individual does or says rather than the things that have upset us, and it requires us to exercise mercy, grace, and compassion.
Forgive those whom you are able to and then bury it for good.
Questions to consider:
Why might we want to hold on to our anger and resentment?
How can doing so be a poison to our souls? How does it affect the world around us?
How often do we experience truly unconditional forgiveness? Is forgiveness really forgiveness if we place conditions on it?
For further thought:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi