Hate is a poison that's got to go.
To borrow the words of Seneca, “Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” By holding onto the anger, the resentment, and the bitterness caused us by others we do not harm them, rather we harm ourselves. Forgiveness is the key to letting go of that “acid."
The comment continues:
"Life is hard and messy. None of us is exempt from sorrow and hardships...But life is so much fuller; it is so rich in love and forgiveness and that is a gift I give myself. I hope you would consider the idea that forgiveness can give you a renewed outlook on your own life." "I genuinely desire to place my heart and mind in a place where I can hope and pray for the happiness of those who have hurt me. They do not apologize; they do not even know they've hurt me often. That is not the point."
Perhaps, as our reader writes, it would do well for us to change our perspective. Maybe, instead of seeing others as having a sinister agenda, we should realize that there’s sometimes more than meets the eye. Each individual has his own story, his own challenges, and his own journey. There are often two sides to every story. Our reader wishes those who harmed her well. It's a noble thought; but it may be beyond me. I, for one, can't pray for a bully's well being, but I can accept that bullies are part of this world. I accept, forgive—and I protect. Ultimately, forgiveness is about accepting—about letting go. You let go of your anger and victimhood, while learning lessons about the world or an adversary and take appropriate actions to protect yourself.
Forgiveness is an antidote to hate; it’s about moving on with wisdom. Religion life is replete with help in forgiving. In Jewish ritual prayer, for instance, here is a wish to forgive that's said every night before going to sleep:
“Master of the Universe, God, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me or who sinned against me - whether against my body, my property, my honor or against anything of mine; whether he did so accidentally, willfully, carelessly or purposefully; whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion…I forgive. Let no man be punished because of me.”
The lesson? It’s good to forgive - everyday. This prayer could be an exercise in cognitive psychology; let go of the negativity of the day, and allow yourself a new start.
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