As I think of all of the individuals who will be observing Yom Kippur this evening (Tuesday) through Wednesday evening it brings to mind the struggle that so many individuals have with forgiveness. Yom Kippur is often thought of as a holiday of forgiveness only, but it is really one that focuses on the reconciliation that comes after the apologies and forgiveness have occurred.
I know of many individuals who have struggled with forgiveness in their lifetimes – some have been wounded terribly. In previous posts I have reminded individuals that forgiveness does not mean forgetting our pasts. Forgiveness means releasing the stranglehold that our pasts may have on our present lives. Forgiveness is not for the person we are forgiving, it is for ourselves.
That said, there are also moments when we need to forgive ourselves for mistakes we have made and in those moments we must find the personal strength to truly make amends for the pain we may have caused others. This can be a challenge – and, of course, we cannot make someone else be sorry, or force someone else to have the courage to be honest in the face of mistakes and pain.
I think it is important for us to be willing to approach people we have hurt (intentionally or unintentionally) and find ways to work through the situation. This molds us into stronger, more sensitive, individuals.
Today, 149 days ’til 40, I and thankful that I live a life where I can forgive others and ask for forgiveness when I make mistakes.