Happiness. We all seek it. The constitution even promises us the “pursuit” of it. We talk about it; dream about it; fight for it; work for it. But where is happiness truly found? How do we achieve authentic happiness in our lives?
I have a thought for you; possibly a new insight on this seemingly fleeting, impossible to truly attain yet deeply desired element of wellness.
One truth that we must realize is that the past is often the biggest offender and thief of happiness. And it does not have to be repeated. We often feel that we are doomed to old patterns, habits and behaviours that steal, kill and destroy our happiness. That is lie, a conspiracy to keep us from happiness. We can make a choice, create change, and unleash new life. We can experience new beginnings, purpose, meaning and possibility in our lives.
The past does not have to dictate the future but rather it should empower it.
But how? How can the past, those mistakes, mis-steps, wrong doings, the failures, the wounds, and the offences empower a better future? The answer is surprising yet powerful.
Hope comes from forgiveness and that releases the future from the chains of the past becoming the key to our happiness. So let’s look at forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive? How does forgiveness carry so much power and authority in our lives? What is accomplished through forgiveness?
1. Forgiveness absorbs injustice.
Yes, you were hurt. A grave injustice occurred but forgiveness stops the pain. It removes the sting and ends the misery. It binds the wound, delivers swift healing and leaves no scars.
2. Forgiveness offers reconciliation over revenge.
Revenge does nothing but deepen the wounds of offence. Its impact is far greater for you the offended than it ever is for the offender. Revenge is death. But forgiveness gives opportunity for reconciliation between offender and offended. And whether or not it is achieved, the offer alone brings freedom.
3. Forgiveness remembers yet releases.
“The way of forgiveness does not forget the past, but through truth and reconciliation it finds a way beyond the toxic memory. It is the way of restorative justice.”
4. Forgiveness is power not weakness.
Forgiveness is power against the enemy. It is power to break the collaboration with death; un-forgiveness, bitterness and revenge.
“No I do not want a battle from beginning to end.
I don’t want a cycle of recycled revenge.
I don’t want to follow death and all his friends.”
Coldplay, Chris Martin
No greater story and message of forgiveness can be found than in the life of Christ. The message of Christ was chiefly based on the radical idea of enemy love and endless forgiveness. He knew that without it there is no future only death. Nelson Mandela and Desmund Tutu understood this message as they sought to release the nation Of South Africa from Apartheid. And so we too must heed this wisdom and truth by choosing to live a life of radical forgiveness.
Yes, no offence, no wound, no scar, nothing is too big, too deep, too ugly, too painful to forgive. It doesn’t matter if it is you that is the offender or another that has somehow offended you, forgiveness is mandatory to true happiness and wellness. Without it there is no future and hope. It is just that simple.
Do you need to do some forgiveness homework?
Is there someone or many in your life who have hurt you and you have not yet forgiven? What about yourself? Have you forgiven YOU for all the mistakes you’ve made? For all your shortcomings?
Will you share with us? Just comment below and make your declaration of forgiveness today and let us know how we can stand by you.