Forgiveness frees you from more suffering

Being in the auction business, I deal with a lot of families who are selling merchandise to settle an estate. What is difficult for me to understand is the bitterness that sometimes comes about from family members. Many times this is due to the almighty dollar, but other times it seems to have come from an issue from years ago.

To me, there is nothing better than your family. I would suggest trying to practice forgiveness, letting go of grudges and bitterness.

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance.

If you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who suffers the most. By embracing forgiveness, you yourself can find peace and tranquility and better emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.

Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of retribution. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.

Forgiveness brings a peace that helps you go on with life, and taking care of you is really the important part of this task.

I once took my son to a local fast food restaurant when he was about 7 years old. He wanted some more french fries and wanted to go to the counter and order them himself. I thought that was a good idea. When he went to the counter, the clerk was rude to him but took his order. Then he waited several minutes while she talked on the telephone and would not serve them to him.

Seems like a small thing, but it ticked me off to no end. I said something myself and was told, “Well, just go get fries someplace else.” We did, and I held a grudge against that particular place for a while.

Actually, I finally practiced the art of forgiveness a year after my son graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy. I must say I felt better about it, too. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Another way of putting this is with the idea that I work with criminal offenders, people who have greatly hurt or offended society.

I have to make them understand that forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. Many of them are holding a grudge against themselves. I try to teach them to consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time. Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being. Actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you (even if it’s yourself), when you’re ready. Move away from your role as victim, and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life.

Again, sometimes forgiveness is for your own well-being. The other person may still be a jerk or not want to have anything to do with you, but as you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

We only have one life. Do all you can to make sure it’s an enjoyable time. Think about it, do you know someone who could use a little forgiveness?

Wayne Addison is chief probation officer for the Hancock County Probation Department.