Beyond the Reading

Beyond the Reading: Choosing to Forgive

Today’s reading encourages us to use self-reflection in aiding us to forgive and let go, so that we can be excited about things in our life again. Forgiveness is encouraged, taught, regaled, and mentioned frequently throughout our lives. We are taught about forgiveness at a young age to the point where some people expect it. There is a certain order of things. Someone does something they shouldn’t have, they apologize and hopefully don’t do that thing again. And that is where it gets tricky. There’s always more to it than a simple apology.

Souders (2020) breaks forgiveness down into two parts and discusses the choice of forgiving in What Is Forgiveness And What Are The Benefits. There is decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness. We can have one without the other but emotional forgiveness usually comes after decisional forgiveness. These terms basically explain what we go through when we say we forgive someone but still have lingering feelings about the whole situation. Sometimes those feelings and emotions just don’t go away. This is what makes forgiveness a choice. We are actively and consciously choosing to forgive someone, while waiting for our emotions to catch up.

So why go through all of this? Why make the choice?

Because forgiveness is a choice we make for ourselves. Yes there are outside pressures that may initially force us into decisional forgiveness, but ultimately it is our choice. Souders (2020) lists nine benefits of forgiveness, but the most striking is that it provides us with a greater sense of relief. It’s important that we make this choice because this is what gives us the ability to let go, the motivation to move on, and the excitement that comes from experiencing new things. We won’t have relief from the situation, from our emotions, from our stress until we let go, until we forgive.

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