You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, “I forgive. I’m finished with it.” ~ Maya Angelou
The reason I love this quote is because it both embodies what love truly is and the real benefactor from forgiveness.
Ms. Angelou got it right. Love isn’t sentimentality or mushy feelings. It is respecting, valuing, and honoring. It is doing the right thing even if it is hard or goes unnoticed.
Dovetail that with forgiveness. I used to think forgiveness was to benefit the offender. This understanding of forgiveness made it hard for me to forgive because I didn’t feel that person deserved to be forgiven. I felt like I was giving that person a pass. It was the same to me as saying, “What you did was okay, you are not to blame.”
However, now I realize forgiveness is for me. It is for me to be free. I needed to respect, value, and honor, myself! And I couldn’t do that while holding a grudge, wanting justice, and wanting that person to suffer as I had. Just as Maya Angelou said, I had to say, I forgive. I’m letting it go from myself. I’M FINISHED WITH IT! And I did.
That said, for a couple of years the person and the offense replayed in my mind and I had to remind myself, I’m finished with it. After a while, it no longer played in my mind.