Self-Care Challenge Day 20: Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is an act of self-healing, self-liberation and self-empowerment. We cannot change what happened but we can change how we relate to it.”                         – Eva Mozes Kor

I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness. Forgiveness, as I am beginning to understand it, is ultimately an act of self-care. Even if it takes us a long, long time. Because unforgiveness hardens the heart, tighten the throat and burn in our bellies. I know because I can feel it. When our body and heart are constricted love cannot come in, we slowly starve. The other morning, this video showed up in my feed on Facebook: Eva Mozes Kor, talking about her act of forgiving the most heinous acts in history. The video is about 15 minutes long. If you have time I strongly encourage you to watch it.

Forgiveness releases not the other person, but us. Forgiveness does not negate accountability. It is perfectly within our right to withhold forgiveness. But 99% of the time, those people who hurt us will never fully understand the pain they caused. Nor are they waiting on us to forgive them. So we are the ones who continue to suffer.
Forgiveness is about self-love. Its not saying what happened is okay, it is saying “I will no longer be slave to you and what you’ve done.”

I suppose we have to desire freedom more than we desire justice. But nothing about this human life guarantees justice will be served. Perhaps then, forgiveness is less a single act than a series of powerful choices in painful moments that arise, over and over again. I have not figured it out yet, but I am still trying. Still trying to figure out what it means to forgive when the wounding is not part of the past but a continual part of your life.  Perhaps, like Eva Mozes Kor, you have to “fake it until you make it”. Maybe practicing forgiveness is just that – practicing the words. At the end of the video she talks about sitting in an empty room and imagining her perpetrator sitting across from her and firing at him ever possible horrible word she can think of and when its all been said adding “…and even so, I forgive you.”  Maybe if we say it enough times, like positive affirmations, it begins to soften our hearts. When our hearts soften, love can come in. I will try. If it is possible for Eva Mozes Kor it is possible for anyone.



Learn more about the 30 Day Self-Care Challenge or follow along on Facebook.


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