Forgiveness as a Gift to Yourself

Imagine that you are standing with hose in hand ready to water your favorite outdoor plants. You turn on the water and only a little bit comes out. You know there should be more water pressure, so you look and notice several kinks in the hose. As you untangle them, the water gushes forth in a full stream. You are able to give your precious plants a full supply of water. Now imagine that the water is the flow of God’s love that can come through you. You are the hose, the vehicle through which that love can flow. It is a beautiful and powerful feeling to allow God’s love, the waters of life, to flow through us. One main way we kink our hose is by closing our heart to another.

Feeling resentment or carrying a grudge toward one other person inhibits our flow of love to even our closest relationships. Put in another way, the weakest link of a chain determines the strength of the whole chain. Some people carry a grudge for many years and put tremendous energy into justifying their resentment. This kinks the flow of love and energy in a person’s life.

Forgiveness is not about seeing a person’s action as right. It may well be that the person acted wrongly. Forgiveness is about seeing past the action or behavior to the part of that human being which is love. Forgiveness is really a gift we give to ourselves. There is a tremendous lightness and energy that can enter our lives when we let go of the grudges and resentments we carry.

A powerful way of forgiving is to see past the adult form and behavior to the little innocent child within the person we would like to forgive. Betty was having a particularly hard time forgiving her father for certain abusive actions done to her as a child. She had fallen into blaming her father for the ways her life was not working. True, her father had acted wrongly, yet continuing to hate him was causing much unhappiness in Betty’s life.

I asked her to find a picture of her father as a young child and put it in a place where she could see it often. She found a photo of him taken at age six. As she more and more studied the photo, she began to see the sadness and loneliness in his eyes. He himself was abused as a child. Betty was able to open her heart to her father as a little boy. She felt like reaching out and holding him in her arms.

A month later, as her next step, she found a photo of him at ten years old. His eyes were still full of sadness and loneliness, but now he was starting to try to hide his pain. Betty was again able to feel compassion for him as an older child. A photo of her father as a teen showed an unhappy youth trying to act tough to further cover up the pain inside.

Through studying these photos, Betty was able to feel compassion for her father’s childhood. This compassion did not make her father’s actions right, but Betty could now understand the pain in her father that had led him to pass the abuse to another generation. Armed with this understanding, she was able to reach out in love to the sad little boy still within her father. Through feeling compassion, Betty’s heart was freed of the bitterness and hatred she had carried for most of her adult life. Her health improved, she felt years younger and found she had more love to give to her husband and children. Forgiveness of her father was a gift she had thus given to herself.

Perhaps there are similar gifts you could give yourself? Is there someone you are needing to forgive? Is there a way you are needing to let go and move on in your life? You deserve the gift of more freedom and peace in your life. You deserve to fully feel your love and not have it covered by past resentments and grudges. You deserve love!

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