Forgiveness is a Process, Not an Event

A forgiving person has no past. An unforgiving person
has no future.

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is Not to…
• Condone
• Forget
• Tolerate
• Ignore
• Approve
• Excuse
• Minimize
• Pardon
• Deny
• Absolve
• Reconcile
• Invite to hurt again
• Surrender justice
Forgiveness Is a Decision to not…
• Retaliate
• Exact revenge
• Seek compensation
• Judge
Forgiveness Is a Decision to…
• Release them
• Release ourselves
• Be released

What is the process?

Accept the facts: Betrayal = it did happen; I was hurt.
Open your mind, memories and heart to remember the
hurts, the wounds, where and when you have been let
down, dishonored, abused, lied to, cheated on; diminished
in spirit and emotion; diminished physically and financially.
Bring to your mind, to your memory and to your heart
a picture of the betrayer; your father, mother, husband,
wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, relative,
friend; have you been betrayed by your school, church,
the judicial system, healthcare system, legal system,
the government?

This is the reality—it did happen—we have been betrayed,
hurt and deeply wounded. Name it and accept
it. It’s tragic and it’s true.

Accept the facts of the process of forgiveness: I can be
healed from these soul wounds. The process begins
when I decide to release them and myself; to release
my current feelings about the events of my past.
To forgive is not to condone or excuse the behavior.
What was done was wrong.

To forgive is not to pardon—that’s not mine to give—I
don’t have the power to absolve.

To forgive is not to forget. I am saddened by the memory,
must grieve the event, and resolve to never let it
happen again.

To forgive is to release from debt; to release from the
demand for retribution or retaliation.

To forgive is to surrender the right to get even; to release
my current feelings about my past “rights”.
The reality is that as long as I hold onto these hurts,
they possess me; actually, they poison me physically,
emotionally, and spiritually.

To forgive them is to take responsibility for my part,
which may only be that I have been holding onto these
memories, these feelings, and have allowed them to
continue to devastate my physical, emotional and spiritual
life. Am I willing to release my feelings about the

To forgive myself is to experience my regret, remorse,
sorrow for who I’ve been, how I’ve acted, and how I
hurt others – and to commit to change my behavior.
Am I willing to release my feelings and assume a new

How long am I going to carry these wounds? How long
am I going to be shackled to this garbage barge of
memories of hurt, anger and shame?
All spiritual traditions believe that I am forgiven just to
the extent that I forgive; all spiritual traditions believe
that I am released just to the extent I release others.
Look at my own brokenness—the many betrayals for
which I have been responsible. Look at my motives,
my role, in the events in which I find myself betrayed.
Where was I selfish, self-seeking, dishonest, angry or

In light of my own brokenness, look at their brokenness—
see them like me—those that hurt me are themselves
hurt, fearful, wounded, sick people—human
beings twisted by their own personal histories.
Embrace compassion both for them and for my self:
they have suffered; they act out of their suffering. I
have suffered; I act out of my suffering.

I am a weak, wounded human being, full of defects—
attempting to survive the difficulties of life and find a
little security, peace and happiness.

Forgiveness is the release of others and my feelings
about the harm they have caused me. The truth is forgiveness
often follows deep acceptance of and repentance
for my own harmful actions to others.

I am powerless to name and accept the truth of the
harm I have done; I am likewise powerless to release
the memories of the hurt others have done to me.
Despite this powerlessness, I have a responsibility to
decide not to live in the past. I have a responsibility to
decide to live in the present, to accept reality as it is –
not as it “should be” or as I want it.

Am I willing to embrace the process and release them?
Am I willing to pray for the power:

• To ask for knowledge of the truth?

• To ask for freedom from the bondage of my own

• To wish for the spiritual healing of those persons,
institutions, or events that have harmed me?

• To forgive myself—to let go of self condemnation,
morbid reflection, remorse, my temper, my
addictions, my vanities, my arrogance, my smugness,
my victim stance; to let go of my failures, to
do what I must and become who I really am?

• To change my attitude and my actions?
Am I willing to pray for the power:

• To love them as I want to be loved?

• To see the world and the people in it from God’s
point of view? To see and accept reality? To identify
and release my “unenforceable rules”?

• To act better than I feel?
Invite the healing Spirit of the Universe:

• Into my mind—that my memories may be

• Into my heart—that my feelings may be healed

• Into my soul—that my human spirit may be
healed and flourish
Healing Spirit of the Universe:

• Enable me to be willing to let go and to forgive:
to release and to be released

• Enable me to be willing to be restored to sanity –
to healthy thinking

• Enable me to be willing to be taken to a place of
serenity – to accept reality as it is

• Enable me to be willing to find freedom – to act
with the intention of compassion and loving

Holy Spirit, breathe Your Spirit into me.

• Enable me to live from a vision of being tender
love and a witness to the benefits of hope.