No one is perfect. We make mistakes every day, ranging from minor offenses to wrongs so substantial they change lives. The underside of any mistake, though, is the opportunity to extend or receive forgiveness. As we’ve shared before, "forgiveness is a complete letting go of all the things beyond your control" and knowing the four types of forgiveness can help you do just that.
1. People who seek forgiveness.
Those who seek forgiveness want to be absolved by the one they hurt. Recent studies have shown that being evaluated negatively by others can feel even worse than physical trauma. Consequently, they pursue forgiveness in order to relieve this pain.
2. People who forgive.
There is a power found in forgiving. The forgiver must weigh the natural urge to hold a grudge against the morally right decision of offering forgiveness. Giving into that desire to withhold forgiveness is much like drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer. People who forgive do so not just for the other person, but to also spare themselves a painful poisoning.
3. People who forgive themselves.
Self-forgiveness can be most difficult because we’re often our harshest critics and examining our faults is extremely personal. It is easier to forgive others because we do not hold them to the same high standards that we hold ourselves and do not take their failures as intimately as we take our own. People who cannot forgive themselves become tied to feelings of bitterness and anger while compromising both their mental and physical health. However, those who can forgive themselves are acknowledging that they have made mistakes and are choosing to show themselves compassion in an attempt to grow and move on.
4. People who wonder if God forgives them.
Guilt can conjure a storm of doubt. If you’ve sought forgiveness from others and yourself, you might still seek divine forgiveness--the type which washes away any residual doubt of your self-worth. While we receive direct responses from people we’ve wronged, God’s words can be harder to hear. However, with God, we know forgiveness is available to those who are sorry and intend to do better.
Forgiveness is a gift. Ask for it sparingly, give it freely and value its power.
T.D. Jakes is a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinking, entrepreneur and compassion humanitarian with a voice that has reverberated from the world's most prominent stages. His look at life comes from the perspective of a father, a student, a pastor and a friend. His daytime talk show will be premiering this fall across the nation. Follow @tdjakesshow on Twitter!