Forgiveness

Christ’s Perfect Example of Love

Jesus Love on the Cross

(Photo Credit: CNN)

Christ is the highest expression and embodiment of love.

Suffering the most barbarous and mortifying sacrificial death one can ever witness or imagine—all to proffer an invitation for eternal union and fellowship with Him—Christ loved everyone even before anyone ever loved Him.

Giving those willing to believe in Him and His redemptive work on Calvary’s Cross as the final atonement for all sins, Jesus offers an everlasting love, a love that never leaves, never forsakes, never separates.  

Faithful to us when we’re unfaithful to Him, Jesus loves unconditionally because He is love.

To know love, therefore, is to know Him.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Acknowledging Regrets Can Move You Forward

Emotional Health

(Photo Credit: CDC)

We all have our regrets.  Although we shouldn’t live a life full of regrets, it can be quite liberating to deal candidly with your regrets.  You may have invested greatly in people who have evinced that they were not worthy of your time, but the time you devoted to them speaks volumes about your character.  Even though those individuals may now be your enemies, learn to appreciate the lessons you’ve learned from your interactions with those who have proved themselves to lack gratitude.  Don’t allow your life to become consumed by focusing on regrets; instead, take the necessary time to think critically about the things you regret.

Too often people are afraid to confront challenges in their lives that make them uncomfortable.  Although many would have you to believe that you need to do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable, it’s beneficial to have a constant healthy level of discomfort present.  Discomfort unveils to us that we’re human.  If you’re always avoiding phenomena that cause discomfort, then you’re trying to remove yourself from experiencing inexorable dimensions of the human condition.  You’re going to have to recognize that staying away from discomfort is going to limit your progression significantly.  Ultimately, you will discover your most impactful regret is failing to assess the emotional and physical toll of your regrets.

Forgiving yourself and the people who have hurt you are essential to experiencing true progress.  The regrets you have about past and present relationships and decisions you’ve made have to be placed in the proper context: you and others are human.  Every human being has made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  When you don’t forgive yourself and others for mistakes, then the weight of those mistakes hold you down, stifling any chance of you moving forward in life.  A failure to forgive yourself and others results in bitterness, even if you don’t recognize it.  You have to resolve whether you’re going to allow your own mistakes and those of others to defeat you.

Be open to a new beginning with yourself and others.

It’s important for you to realize you’re not the only one who has regrets.  Spend some time talking to others about their regrets and how they process them.  The discourses you have with them can offer you some practices you can employ to place your regrets in an appropriate context.

What if someone has hurt me so deeply, though?  Welcome to the real world.  On this planet that we inhabit, someone is going to do something to cause you harm, whether it be directly or indirectly.  Learn the lessons from your experiences with the person and move on to better people and things.

Don’t turn your regrets into more than they should be.  Do you really just want to be a drama queen or king?  If not, make a commitment to transform every regret into an empowering opportunity.  No one desires to be around someone who is emotionally exhausting.  You can run the people you need to succeed in life away from you.

Take a close emotional inventory.  What are the things keeping you from progressing?  How can you address them?  After you respond to those two questions, devise a practical plan for implementing the solutions birthed from your critical emotional inventory.  If you would like to involve others in this process, understand that this can be beneficial.

Refuse to allow your regrets to dominate you.  Choose to live and win!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Your Apology Isn’t Enough

Apology

(Photo Credit: Conscious Manager)

Although you can genuinely forgive a person, some things people do to you require more than a simple apology. Even if the person accepts your apology, this may not always take away the pain of the wrong you have done. When you do certain wrongs to an individual, you need to work to demonstrate to the person you’re truly sorry. Your goal should be to restore that person’s confidence in you again. It can become quite unsatisfying to allow people to do whatever they please to you and then pretend that an apology heals everything.

If you will be honest, you will admit that an apology does not heal everything someone does to you. Yes, forgive everyone for everything he or she does to you. Don’t try to pretend that forgiveness cures the pain of all wrongdoing, however.

Determine in your mind that you’re not going to do things that cause people constant pain.  We all, of course, make mistakes. Unfortunately, we all don’t elect to work tirelessly to repair the damage that our mistakes produce.

You shouldn’t be so self-absorbed that you don’t even realize the harm that you do to others. Wake up and acknowledge the destructive impact of your words and actions. Your actions are not going to improve until your mind experiences a transformation. How you think determines your actions. If you think negatively, then your actions are going to be negative.

Those who have been sincerely hurt by things that people have done have to recognize when people are making efforts to recompense for their transgressions. It’s not healthy for broken people to decide that they’re going to be angry with those who have wronged them for the rest of their lives. When you do this, you share some of the blame for the wrong that was done to you: your unwillingness to make room for healing does not allow change to happen.

Why isn’t an apology always enough, though? The core reason why an apology is often not enough is an apology is frequently just the beginning of the process of your part in helping a person to heal from the pain you have caused. When you accept full responsibility for your wrongs, then you will embrace what needs to be done to restore a person to his or her previous state. You will discover that while you’re helping someone to heal that you can see healing manifest itself in your own life.

Let’s change our mentality that an apology should always be good enough. Let’s change our focus to healing instead just forgiving and apologizing.

Call someone today that you have done wrong and let the person know that you are more than sorry for the wrong that you’ve done to him or her; let him or her know that you plan to participate in his or her healing process. Although you may have originally thought that the person was just being overly sensitive, and he or she may have, the fact is you will be a better person for doing the appropriate things to mend this broken person.

Wouldn’t America and the world truly be better if many broken relationships were repaired?

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Complicated Beauty of Forgiveness

Forgiveness

(Photo Credit: Joint Interest)

Although it can be quite difficult to forgive people sometimes, it’s essential that you forgive them.  You may feel that the people have done things to you and/or stated things about you that make them unworthy of forgiveness.  Everyone deserves forgiveness, however.  When you’re unwilling to forgive others, you hold yourself back from progressing.  You will continue to carry the weight of unforgiveness around with you.  Holding grudges robs you of living a life liberated from the control of others.  When you fail to forgive individuals who have wronged you, you’re allowing the things they’ve done to you to control you.

When you forgive people for their errors, you make room in your life for greater things to happen in it.

Forgiveness

(Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

Forgiving individuals does not mean you have to become friends with them and hang out with them.  It means you have released yourself and them from any personal animosity, malevolent thoughts, and desires for revenge you may have harbored.  This will also let the people who you’ve forgiven know that you hold nothing against them.  When you forgive people, this does not mean that they will not face consequences for their wrongs.  They still will experience the repercussions of their errors.  At that point, what they will go through is out of your hands.  You’ve done your part and that’s all that matters.

Don’t spend the rest of your life thinking about ways you’re going to get revenge on your enemies. This is a complete waste of your time.  Your enemies have wasted enough of your time; therefore, don’t help them to waste more of it.

If you forgive a person for phenomena he or she has done to you, then you may discover that the act of forgiveness enables you to restore a relationship with him or her.  Forgiveness can, therefore, pave the way for necessary relationships to be mended.  It can also give you peace to deal with those relationships that need to end or remain severed.  In no way does having a forgiving heart mean that you have to let people run over you.  A forgiving heart permits you to recognize that human beings are fallible creatures needing to be forgiven because of their inability to achieve perfection.

Make an important decision to forgive everyone who has ever done you wrong.  If you really want to see maximum growth in your life, visit, call or write the people you’re forgiving to inform them that you’ve forgiven them and what you’ve forgiven them for doing and/or saying.  Be specific too.

We continue to have unproductive arguments and fights with one another because we’re too immature to resolve our issues through sincere and apt communication.

When you apologize to someone, don’t apologize because you got caught; apologize because you’re genuinely sorry. Faux apologizes will only exacerbate quandaries between you and others.  Many people will respond positively to authentic apologies.

Today, empower yourself by forgiving someone for his or her wrongdoings.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Pain of Knowing You Did the Wrong Thing

Did the Wrong Thing

When you know that you have done the wrong thing to someone, you should ask for God’s forgiveness and should ask the person for forgiveness. God will forgive you. The person may forgive you too. You should ask the person for forgiveness in person to allow him or her to see that it is a genuine request for forgiveness—if this is at all possible. People will respect you more when you just come out and genuinely apologize for the things that you have done wrong. Don’t try to make excuses for what you have done wrong—just apologize. When you try to make excuses for what you have done wrong or try to engage in a debate about whether or not what you did was really wrong, then you cause even more pain for your victim or victims and run the risk of never getting forgiveness from that person.

Although some people may never forgive you, you should try your best to get their forgiveness because you are the person who caused the pain in the first place. The one thing that you can do in the future to prevent causing people pain is to simply not strive to intentionally hurt people. When you have developed a reputation for being compassionate, then the times where you unintentionally hurt people will be less of a problem because people will automatically excuse you because your compassionate reputation precedes you.

One thing that makes me angry about people who intentionally hurt others is when they try to cover up the hurt that they have caused. When they attempt to make it appear like they had nothing to do with the hurt that they caused, this represents the essence of cowardice. I have a difficult time not going wild on someone who knows that he or she has intentionally inflicted pain on me, but comes around me acting like everything is okay—like nothing has happened.

Let’s be better people and not intentionally hurt people. If we would not intentionally hurt people, we would not have to carry with us the pain of knowing that we have done the wrong thing to somebody, and what a pain that is.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison