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Forgiving, Again and Again
Some years ago I came across an idea that helped clarify and deepen my understanding of forgiveness. Forgiveness means relinquishment. It's that simple. To relinquish something is to release whatever power it holds over us. If I forgive someone for a wrong done to me, I no longer allow that event to determine how I treat the other person. I may remember the wrong or I may forget it, but either way I have disarmed it. It no longer determines my actions, thoughts, or words. Forgiveness in this sense is rarely easy or quick. How often do we say, we forgive another person, but still hold a secret grudge? Because of its difficulty, forgiveness has to be practiced. It is less an act than a way of living, a discipline, a cultivated
skill. I think this is why Jesus told his students to forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21). True forgiveness often comes only at the end of an inner struggle.

--from "The Parable of the Slighted Son"
by Mark Muesse


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