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Accepting forgiveness, what a concept

November 25, 2013

The other evening I was listening to this episode of “The Story”. It’s incredibly moving and redemptive and I’d advise anyone and everyone to give it a listen.

At one point the woman, Jennifer Thompson, who was raped and whose incorrect i.d. lead to an innocent man receiving a life sentence, speaks about the day she saw him after his conviction was overturned. He told her that he had forgiven her years ago. (I was crying at this point.) And then the host asks if she was able to accept his forgiveness. If she was able to accept it and move on without guilt. This little question lit something up inside of me.

I never thought of forgiveness as a gift to be accepted. A literal gift to be accepted with openness and grace. But it is.

I have issues with guilt and I have a hard time letting things go and, like most people I think, will hold onto guilt long after whomever has been done wrong is over it. It’s silly in some ways, I guess, but forgiveness, like an apology, must be accepted with more than words.

In thinking about this I’ve also played with turning it on myself. Can I accept forgiveness from me? Truly? Like a gift from someone else? I think I can. I’m starting to believe that accepting forgiveness from the heart when it is offered just might be the key to lightening up some serious baggage.

What do you think?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2013 9:33 am

    thank you so much. What a beautiful story. By forgiving, one can move on, instead of living inside that bitterness.

  2. November 25, 2013 3:57 pm

    Holding on to things hurts us so much more than it hurts others. If we can come to understand that to be true for ourselves, we might be better able to give that gift of forgiveness to others and set them free, as well.

  3. May 19, 2014 6:18 pm

    I’m sure you’re up on this, but Brene Brown did some great TED talks about shame and stuff. Which is akin to your topic.

    Forgiveness is hard and important. I will say, as a creative/writer, it’s impossible to do what we do without forgiveness. I’m gonna fail over and over again. I gotta be okay with that.

    Dr. Brown talks about Teddy Roosevelt’s gladiator quote about daring greatly. It makes sense that all forgiveness requires courage. So we can continue to dare greatly.

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