4 Reasons why you ought to be more forgiving

Hugging partner.

Can you be forgiving? What are the benefits?

To be forgiving is not always easy. 

Often because of the cruelty of other people, or their carelessness, or poor judgment, much pain, injury or embarrassment must be endured. 

One could quite easily harbor resentment and feel justified in doing so, but it is recommended that we be more forgiving. Why?

1. Forgiveness lessens emotional burdens

One main reason why we should be forgiving is that we love ourselves.

Since we do love ourselves, we would not want to burden ourselves needlessly, would we?

Yet that is what we are doing when we nurse grudges and refuse to be forgiving, for as one person wrote: "A grudge is too heavy a load for any person to carry.”

A deliberate effort should be made to write off the wrong and restore the fractured relationship as soon as possible, the very day the rupture takes place, if possible.

It helps us, though, if we keep in mind that to forgive is not to condone or minimize the wrongs that others have committed. 

To forgive involves letting go of resentment. 

Resentment is a heavy burden to carry. 

It can consume our thoughts, robbing us of happiness

It can even affect our health.

In contrast, forgiveness, where appropriate, works to our own benefit.

2. Forgiveness can save relationships

Do you allow a disagreement between you and your mate to develop into an ongoing source of annoyance or vexation? 

Do misunderstandings and upsetting situations linger for several days?

In order to live up to your vow, when difficulties arise do not allow a day to go by without making peace with your mate. 

This means forgiving and forgetting as well as acknowledging your own faults and errors

Putting off forgiveness or refusing to forgive can lead to separation and divorce, often followed by feelings of guilt and loneliness

Pride may make a wife or a husband insist on a divorce or a separation, but one’s pride makes very poor company.

A renowned writer recently said that he was prepared to report on what it is like to be divorced after fourteen years of marriage. He says: 

“The disadvantages of being without marital ties, particularly in middle life, far outweigh the delights. You learn for the first time how loud silence can be in the stilly clamor of an empty home. The loneliness and silence close in when the rattle of one’s key in the front door initiates no answering sound. It is in this moment that one learns that the bark of a dog, the meow of a cat or the chirrup of a bird is no substitute for a human voice. . . . Friends do not close the awful gap that was once filled by someone called wife or husband. It just isn’t the same.” 
An actress, divorced and living by herself in London, had achieved the pinnacle of financial success. She was “free.” But she said:

It’s when I come home after the theater and close the door, and know that not a soul really cares what I am doing or what is happening to me, physically or emotionally, that I understand the snare of this so-called freedom.” 

Is it possible that putting forgiveness ahead of pride would have saved those marriages?

3. Forgiveness promotes peace and reconciliation 

Often offenses against us are due to ignorance, which may, in turn, be due to the environment of an individual and his or her rearing.

If we take this into consideration it will help us to be forgiving.

A true-life experience well illustrates this point.

A waitress was having problems with a cook who seemed to scream and curse at every little happening.

The cook’s crude behavior was extremely trying, although she was completely oblivious to this fact.

Her upbringing had never taught her to behave differently.

One day the waitress spilled a dish of peas and the cook embarrassed her before all the customers.

What should she do? Quit?

She chose to speak to the cook, in the spirit of forgiving.

After handling the problem with the cook that way, the cook later regretted her action and began slowly to become wonderful to her.

Finally, she became the best friend the waiter had over there.

She used to invite her out to the kitchen for a piece of pie with her and went out all her way to be nice to her, giving her orders more special attention.

She was so glad she didn’t yell back at her.

The cook appreciated the forgiving nature and the loving approach of the waitress.

At times it is just ignorance that leads people to commit very wicked deeds. 

4. Forgiveness promotes empathy and understanding

If our friends irritate us, likely we do the same to them from time to time.

What a fine thing to handle their offenses against us the same way we would want them to handle our offenses against them—with love, empathy and understanding!

Empathy and love are qualities that will help us to be more forgiving toward those who transgress against us. 

Empathy is that quality by which we are able to enter into the thinking and feelings of others, placing ourselves in their shoes as it were.

When we put ourselves in the other person’s place, it helps us to be forgiving. 

Would we want others to bear a grudge against us because of some misdeed on our part?  Of course not. 

We want others to forgive us, and we appreciate their doing so.

Unselfish, principled love helps one to see clearly the wisdom of forgiveness.

In the first place it prompts us to forgive another, and then the forgiving may result in love for us by the one forgiven.

Our forgiving of others should not be a mere perfunctory, superficial forgiveness.

Truly there are compelling reasons why you should be forgiving.

While it is not always easy to forgive, it is the wise thing to do. 

It makes for peace of mind and good health, both for the forgiver and the one forgiven. 

It is the loving thing to do, making for happiness and prompting a loving response.