Forgiveness: Which is more important – what it means or what it does?

hard do you find it to forgive? I am sure the answer will rely heavily upon the circumstances and the person who has wronged you or your loved ones. The difficulty to forgive those who hurt or damage us deeply can mean that we carry around a host of negative emotions that, in reality, only serve to continue to hurt us. The sad fact is that many people who have been mistreated are regularly hurt twice – once by the deed, and then again by living with vengeance and anger working away inside them for prolonged periods of time.
Carrying around these feelings can be of great detriment to a person. Not only can it cloud judgement, but it can also cast a shadow over so many other aspects of a person’s life that sometimes the spill over can have far reaching negative effects on those close to you.
If we consider that forgiveness allows a person to let go of the harmful feelings and thoughts they carry around, finding a way to forgive would seem to be the healthiest way to move forward. However, how do you find it in your heart or your head to forgive someone who has committed a terrible crime against you or your family? Without faith or religious beliefs, or even with them, it can be almost impossible to come to terms with forgiving in these circumstances.
For most of us, our understanding of forgiving someone is to intentionally and willingly let go of feelings of blame and hate towards a person and giving them a pardon for the things that they have done. It can be seen as saying that we are ok with what they did and that we want the best for the perpetrator despite their actions. In cases where the wrongs can be overcome between family and friends it may be possible to reach this point, but in cases of a more serious nature, this way of viewing forgiveness leaves many of us unable to offer it and unwilling to even try. It can make us feel even more infuriated at the mere thought of wishing someone well and offering something to one who has caused untold amounts of pain. Why do they deserve to receive anything positive?
The truth is forgiveness is not of any great benefit to the wrongdoer. The person to gain the most is the one who is able to release themselves of the burden, the dark feelings and wasted time and emotions. Yet no matter how much we can see the sense in letting go, in many cases it is easier said than done.
But what if we change our perception of what forgiveness is? What if we are able to let go in the same way forgiveness relieves you? Can you imagine if in our minds we are able to substitute the word forgiveness with nothingness? In the statements that might run through our heads if we could think in terms of feeling nothing for the person that hurt us and we can begin to think about the futility of hating someone who is very rarely affected by that hate, we can begin to step back from destructive feelings.
It is unlikely that those who commit terrible crimes choose to be the monsters that they are. If they could have been born with different mind-sets, feelings and thought processes it is doubtful they would have chosen an evil path. The bottom line is these people are ill and your hate will do little to alter that. Just as it will do little to alter what has happened.
Forgiveness does not have to mean you think someone should go unpunished for what they have done. It does not mean that you have to feel sympathy or empathy for that person. It doesn’t even mean you have to understand why they did what they did. It simply needs to mean you are able to let go. Take back control of your life by freeing yourself from continued torture holding on causes. Reach a place in which you can acknowledge the wrong that has been done, understand the person’s behaviour belongs to the type of human being we need to be thankful we are not, accept going back is not an option and know the only way forward is to cease feelings for the person. Work towards finding the strength to separate a preconceived idea of what forgiveness means, giving it a meaning that allows you to feel comfortable with your feelings and concentrate on using your energies and emotions for a more positive, healthier life.

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