This posting is about forgiveness. I don’t know about you, but most of the time when I have seen forgiveness addressed it involves the actions of two or more persons. This posting will take a more focused view where it mainly involves action of a single person.

Part of improving oneself leads to becoming powerful. Part of how power is used is improving your quality of life and the life of those around you. Let’s talk about the relationship between power and forgiveness. Forgiveness has had a bad rap because it tends to be associated with weakness, crying, and giving in to hurt.

Sometimes it is even characterized as having to give up something when you actually don’t feel very forgiving. This is normally when you feel justice is important. You ask, of no one in particular, why do I have to do the forgiving, why should someone else be let off the hook? The wrong can be so harmful that the offending party asked for you to forgive them but you cannot forgive because you believe the wrong has not been made right. Until it has been made right you can’t see why you would need to forgive them or even why they would ask you to.

Normally someone asks for forgiveness from you and you decide whether to grant forgiveness. This is one type of interaction of forgiveness. In this case you and the person you forgive acknowledge that an offense has taken place. You release the person from a continual penalty as a result of that offense. In other words you accept them by moving the offense from affecting the future of your positive relationship with the offender. That transaction is awesome but places you in a very responsive mode. What do you do when there is nothing to respond to and yet you need to resolve the pain alone. These are times where the person may not be around to acknowledge the offense. The offender may not be alive. The offender may be physically out of communication. The offender may not even know you are offended. Unresolved, this leads to anger.

Anger has a way of causing you to dwell on the injustice done to you. If you never have meditated in your life this is a time you seem to religiously focus on replaying the offense over and over in your mind. Sometimes bitterness sets in and changes your disposition. It can become poison that seeps into your other relationships, profession, and dreams. The anger can blind you to opportunities of love, affection, acceptance, recognition, and approval. What I am getting to is forgiveness really has nothing to do with the offender acknowledging their wrong and seeking reconciliation with you or me.

I recently went through a situation where things I did to aid were characterized as evil, manipulative, political, dishonest, and self-serving. Two roads stood before me. I could be hurt, surprised, angry, and personally offended seeking justice. Yet I knew from past experience that anger left unchecked will turn to bitterness. In turn this would become a jail cell of my own making. Sure it may feel good to lash out. To fight to justify my feelings, especially when I so clearly saw the wrongness of the offender; yet I took another road.

First you have to make a decision about your life before being able to forgive others when wronged by them. You may never hear an, “I am sorry, forgive me” from the offender. This is the decision I made. No one would ever determine my decision of how I choose to think about a person, place or subject. Though information can be presented to cause me to lean one way in my thoughts versus another; I vowed to not give up my right to make the final decision on how I would think and feel.

I was able to forgive not because I was blind to injustice. I forgave because I knew I did not bear responsibility for the offender’s actions and that their actions are not controlled by me. I understood they are fallible like me. I certainly did not want to allow their actions to take up any more residence in my mind. I did not want the experience to fill my mind with negative thoughts and feelings. My hope is that they change their behavior. Yet, if they did not, I could always remove myself and if they did change I would be of right mind to encourage the change. No matter the outcome, I would decide what occupied my thoughts. So I forgave and let the experience become history. I began a new chapter because life was meant to spend living, not dying.

Does this mean I forget? No. It just means I remain free and not entangled with serving a long term sentence of emotional incarceration. You don’t need for someone to ask for forgiveness, when it is already in your God given privilege to grant forgiveness. Be powerful, take charge and release yourself.

Share with me in your comments of your hardship and your triumphs in forgiving others. God bless you!

Author's Bio: 

Vonzel Sawyer is a life coach, minister, husband and philosopher (father of five and grandfather of eight) who believes that combining wisdom with practical application allows a person to be both maximized and magnified. When combined this becomes the power of what I call a Maxafication-ized life.