Do You Forgive For Someone Else or For Yourself?

As the nice little Catholic boy that I am, the fact that Lent begins on Wednesday has been on my mind.  Lest anyone rolling across this post is not entirely clear on what Lent is all about, it’s essentially the 40 days that lead up to Easter.  It kicks off with Ash Wednesday and although Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” is the day before, it’s not an official part of Lent, per se.  It’s more the “Let’s get all that sinning out of the way now! WOO!”

There are usually 2 traditions associated with Lent that most people know:

  1. No meat on Fridays; and
  2. Giving something up.40DaysAnd40Nights

Heck, there was even a movie with Josh Hartnett that was all about a guy  attempting to give up sex for the 40 days of Lent.

Now, my Mom would always point out that you don’t need to necessarily give something up for Lent, but you could do something instead.  Maybe volunteer or make some kind of a positive change.

Well, this year I have been fresh out of ideas so I did the logical thing and turn to the magic of the Interwebz to see what was out there. I did give some thought to giving something up, but anything I thought of was something that would be good for me to give up, like caffeine. So coming across this post caught my eye a little bit and, in particular, 2 suggestions on it’:

  • Create a good habit; and
  • Forgive.

I like them both, but as I give it more and more thought, I cannot help but feel that the truly worthwhile thing to do would be to forgive any grudge or slight I’ve held for too long.  Perhaps it’s the fact that forgiveness… and I mean real forgiveness… is possibly one of the most difficult things in life to do.

In the combination of “forgive and forget”, most of us can do a fair job of putting a hurt caused by another out of mind or jamming it deep within the gray matter of our subconscious… but to really and truly forgive?  To recognize that someone else did something something awful to us?  And what if that person never even said they were sorry?  Is it possible to forgive in that situation too given the fact that forgiving the unrepentant might be giving a gift to someone who simply doesn’t deserve it?

It’s a fascinating notion to consider because one of the potential benefits to the person doing the forgiving is the release of a lot of mental or spiritual weight by letting go of resentment and anger.

So is forgiveness for the person who committed the slight… or for you?

Maybe it’s just the perfect blend of both.

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