Forgiveness is hard. It takes effort to set down the heavy bag of hurts and old stories of how we have been wronged – even when they are the truth. And yet in our failure to forgive we damage ourselves more than the one who has sinned against us.
The contemporary American author Anne Lamott says that the inability to forgive “feels like drinking rat poison, and then waiting around for the rat to die.” Or consider this quote attributed to the Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
We cannot resent our way to pardon. We cannot hate our way to love. We cannot think our way to wholeness. To “for-give” is in a sense to love in advance. If not for the sake of the other, then at least for the sake of oneself.
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