Forgiveness is defined as “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”
According to the citation above, I am not a forgiving person.
However, I am not vengeful either.
There is never any glory in a personal tragedy. There is pain that threatens to consume you, and sometimes it does. It is unsteady hands and sleepless nights filled with thoughts of self-doubt and longing for what once was. It is anger spilling over the edges in loud fights, followed by heavy silences where everyone regrets what they have said because something terrible has happened and we should not be getting mad at each other. If anything, we should be mad at the person who has caused it.
Apparently these emotions go away when you “forgive”. But I’d have every right to be angry with the person who has wronged me or my loved ones.
There is a quote that accurately represents my thoughts on forgiveness, but possibly not in the way it reflects the opinions of others.
“Forgiveness is my gift to you; moving on is my gift to myself.”
Forgiveness is something you do to, as the definition says, “wish the offender well”. But I wouldn’t want them to be well! I’d be angry because they have caused me pain and I would want revenge. However, I am smart enough to know that nothing good ever comes out of a lust for vengeance.
So I would move on, because that’s what life must do. However, that does not mean I need to forgive. I would not owe the offender the peace of mind in what they have done, but I would owe myself the opportunity to continue my life. So I would remain angry, because it is my right. But I would not let it stop me from moving on from the tragedy. And if that makes any sense, then I am glad. If it doesn’t, well, redemption never has either. It is messy, but it is life.