We must remember that forgiveness is about us as much as it is about another person. In many situations it is mostly about us. That’s why we guard against destructive forgiveness. True forgiveness is never destructive, but there is a form that appears to be loving and forgiving when in reality it is not.
When we forgive someone for some injustice we perceive that they’ve done to us, we should consider first the role of the forgiver versus the one to be forgiven. If those who are doing the forgiving are not careful, he or she may come across as condescending. “Oh, I know you didn’t know any better,” or “You really were a jerk, but I’m going to forgive you anyway,” is not a positive experience of forgiveness.
Be careful not to set yourself up as above the one you choose to forgive. That attitude will come through in your words and your actions. True forgiveness levels the playing field. No one is above or below the other, no matter the details of the transgression. Forgiveness often entails humility on the part of the one seeking forgiveness, but also on the part of the one extending forgiveness who understands that concept of “There, but by the grace of The Divine, go I.” In other words, it could happen to anyone, and someday we might be the one in need of forgiveness and grace.
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