A definition for forgiveness: I would like to take a moment to clear up a few questions that I have been receiving lately about forgiveness, what it is and the purpose of it. Firstly I would like to suggest that forgiveness is not simply a religious concept, but a universal concept that applies to all. The purpose of forgiveness is not to free the person who the forgiveness is directed towards, of any responsibility regarding their action but rather to free you from the burden of carrying it. In other words by handing out forgiveness you are actually setting yourself free. Also by exercising forgiveness towards others, you become eligible to receive the forgiveness of others yourself. How could you possibly expect from others that which you are not willing to give yourself?
Books on forgiveness
The Bible is obviously the original book on forgiveness and I would recommend reading it even for those with no religious orientation. For those who would like other sources I would recommend Radical Forgiveness by Colin C. Tipping.
In seeking a working definition for forgiveness I would like to say what it does not have to involve. You do not have to like the person, agree with them or condone their behavior in any way. You do not have to allow them anywhere near your life, business or property. You do not have to reject compensation or release them of the consequences of there actions. You don’t even have to tell them that you have forgiven them. In fact I would suggest that forgiveness does not have to benefit the other party at all, it’s about the benefits it brings you.
By refusing to offer forgiveness you carry with you anger, hatred or any other of a number of negative emotions. These emotions are like a cancer and it will eat you from the inside out. By freely offering forgiveness you free yourself form this. Essentially forgiveness is an act of self love. It is yourself that you are setting free.
In conclusion I would suggest that forgiveness simply be viewed as an act of self love, freeing you from the past and allowing you to move swiftly into the future. Learn from the past but also leave the experience in the past. You will fast see life improving.