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Is "Letting Go" and "Forgiveness" the same thing?
February 19, 2018
In 53 years of living I have had more than my share of opportunities to forgive. Over time, I know that these moments made me a better forgiver. Sitting here writing this story I have to be real with myself. In some instances, I forgive right away, in others, forgiveness took a little more time, and I can count on my fingers, the moments, in my lifetime, which I have chosen to withhold my forgiveness.
Along time ago, I realized that forgiveness was more about what I do for myself then what I do for others. After the death of my first boyfriend, I became someone who confronted everything because I didn’t want anyone to die without the chance to resolve a situation. After I came to know the Lord, I realized the true power of forgiveness. I began to forgive others because I know He forgave me first. I am not saying that forgiveness came easy, but now I realize that if I could be forgiven, I could also learn to forgive.
Just the other day I asked my husband, who knows me better than anyone, if he thought I was a “good” forgiver? I waiting confidently for a glowing report of how GREAT a forgiver I was. That didn’t happen. He simply said “no”. He added, after seeing the surprised and probably hurt look on my face that he did not think I forgave easily but that I was able to let go of things easily. This got me thinking. If a person forgives, does that mean they let go? Or, to confuse the situation even more, if a person let’s go, does that mean they forgive? I even googled “Letting Go” on my computer and came up with some scriptures in the bible that talked about letting go.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Or this one… “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.”
So I ask myself…When I was letting go…was there forgiveness in my heart? That is the question – right? I am good at releasing, but when I let go of the hand of someone else…Is the intent of my heart forgiving any wrong doing, or any offenses taken? Or do I simply let go and walk in the direction of the sunset. There are no angry words exchanged, no yelling, or outburst of anger. Just…See ya…Have a nice life…And I wish you well. If I am really truthful with myself, I would have to admit – this is not forgiveness. It is however, the ability to walk away. Forgiveness is “a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.” Forgiveness according to the Greater Good, “is letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.”
And although I believe that this is what forgiveness is…Being a Christian, I can only go by the example set before me – Jesus Christ. And He forgave with all that I just mentioned and an extra measure of heart. He did the letting go of negative feelings, and added a sprinkle of grace, “unmerited favor”, and then he sealed the whole act with love. That is the difference – the heart condition after you let go and forgive. Am I forgiver? Yes. Have I learned to let go? Very well. Have I learned to stamp the act of forgiving with love? This I am still learning.