[I recently revised my definition of forgiveness so am reposting it here. What do you think?]

I’ll never forget sitting in a pub located in a deconsecrated church in Dublin, Ireland, having a conversation about forgiveness with a friend. He just could not understand how I could forgive certain situations and people.

Later I realized we probably had two very different definitions of forgiveness. I don’t know that one definition is better than another, but I know that my definition is what works for me.

For years I’ve thought about what I wanted to add to that conversation, so I’m finally taking that opportunity. For whatever reason, it’s much easier for me to start with what forgiveness isn’t…

Forgiveness is NOT:

  • Condoning and making what happened okay
  • Forgetting, or trying to forget, what happened
  • Excusing what happened
  • Forgoing justice
  • Ignoring or dismissing the pain and hurt from the situation
  • Extending trust – although you may, forgiving doesn’t require trusting that person again

But it is also NOT:

  • Something granted onto others
  • Condemning from a place of moral superiority

So what IS forgiveness? For me, it is a release, a letting go, of the powerful attachment to anger, judgement, vengeance and resentment. It’s a choice to simply not carry that energy, to be at peace with the situation, to surrender. It is a choice to see the humanity in everyone. It is a faith in a higher order to the universe that is beyond my comprehension.

From there it also becomes the choice to live life from a more positive place, to live in the present without being bound to the past.

It’s a much happier place, which is why this definition works so well for me!