Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past
I have recently read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the healing power of forgiveness, based on several university studies on the theme.
Researchers found that the positive effects of forgiveness range from lower measures of depression and anxiety to even lower risks of heart attack. Forgiveness allows us to focus on more positive thoughts and relationships. “It allows you to free up the real estate in your brain” taken up by negative thinking, states Dr. Amit Sood in the article, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Forgiveness also has real potential for personal and spiritual transformation.
Forgiveness does not mean to re-establish a relationship, nor does it mean pardoning. When you forgive, it isn’t saying that the other person is right. It isn’t justifying or condoning what the other person did. But by forgiving, one can find relief and resolution through an alternative stance like acceptance. This strategy entails moving forward from the incident on ones own terms, recognizing the magnitude of the violation, but no longer allowing its unfairness to be obsessed by it and therefore choosing a level of relationship with the offender that serves your best interest. This can be accomplished independently from the offender.
A very intriguing film about the theme on a broader level is ABOUT THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS by Martin Doblmeier, from the producers of Bonhoefer.
It presents very moving and inspiring stories with The Amish, North Ireland, Ground Zero, renowned Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel peace Laureate Elie Wiesel as well as interviews with best-selling authors Thomas Moore and Marianne Williamson (The Gift of Change). I think that it was produced in 2007. if you haven´t seen it yet, you find relevant information here