Each year before football season begins I re-watch episodes from what I consider one of the greatest TV dramas of all time…Friday Night Lights. If you haven’t seen it I dare you to watch the first episode and not get hooked. It has been rated as having one of the top pilot episodes. The show is about high school football in a small Texas town but really it is about how a coach molds the players into men. There is a quote in the show that has stuck with me for years and that’s “there is no weakness in forgiveness.”
As I re-watched that episode with that quote it struck me…How do we forgive? Why do we forgive? Should we forgive? Are there times when we should not forgive? What happens when we forgive? I had all these questions and more.
I like to talk to you about things that are in my heart and that I feel that you and others are dealing with right now. We are in a time in our society where forgiveness is hard. There is so much going on with prejudice, terror attacks, and personal attacks that I feel like I need to take a moment and talk about forgiveness.
I am going to break it down to the who, what, when, where, and how of forgiveness. I believe that after you read this you will be able to experience the power of forgiveness.
Who: Who should we forgive? Who deserves our forgiveness?
To understand that, I want to back up and give the definition for forgiveness because that will help answer this question. According to Merriam Dictionary, it means “to stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong, to stop blaming someone”. If you look at that definition then you see that forgiveness is more about you than the other person. When you have anger in your heart and on your mind it can affect your other relationships. When you are blaming someone else you become a victim not a warrior (check out my podcast about that here 🙂
You should forgive anyone that is causing you anger or allowing you to stay a victim.
What: What is forgiveness?
“The act of forgiving someone or something or the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive others”. I thought the second definition of this was really interesting.
It is actually easier to not forgive then forgive. It is easier to blame others than to take responsibility or let that blame go. It all comes down to attitude or rather mentality. Are you willing to forgive? Are you ready to forgive? Are you there yet to forgive?
These are questions you need to ask yourself.
When: When should you ask for forgiveness?
We have covered when you should forgive, now I want to take when to ask for forgiveness. I think the answer to that is simple…you should ask for forgiveness when whatever you have done or said causes tension in your relationships.
We are by nature, relational people. We like relationships. You can take this all the way back to Adam and Eve having each other. When you have a friendship or a relationship that has tension it can take over our focus, our thoughts, and our future actions.
You will live happier and freer the less tension you have in your relationships.
Where: Where should you forgive?
Answer…anywhere. I know it’s not as classy or tasteful to ask for forgiveness through a text message or email but if that is what you can do at that moment, go for it! You know when you need to apologize in person, over the phone, through text, through email, on social media, and so on.
I am going to trust your intuition on this.
How: How do you forgive?
How do you forgive someone that has hurt you soo badly that it has affected the outcome of your life? That is a hard a** question and one that I battle with often. If you know my background story you know I was abused for 12 years and learning how to forgive that person took a lot of soul-searching, counseling, letting go, and more.
I don’t have an easy answer for this because this is the hardest of all questions. However, I do recommend you explore this by asking mentors, getting help, journaling, meditating, and whatever else helps you.
I hope this has helped you on your road to forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful act and one that can allow you to live a more happy, free, loving, kind, caring, blessed, and successful life.
If you have any thoughts on this let me know in the comments below.