Welcome to Day Ten of the 30-Days of Forgiveness.

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Hello, Dear one.

I’m reading a lovely book by psychologist, Robert D Enright, PhD. It’s entitled Forgiveness Is A Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope (Amazon Affiliate Link).

I’m really enjoying the book, but today I read something that stumped me.

Someone asked Dr. Enright about forgiving ailing body parts (such as an arthritic knee), as well as, forgiving hurricanes for the damage they cause.

He says—

Can one forgive a body wreaked with pain? I do not think so, precisely because one’s body is not acting unfairly. You be disappointed, you may need to accept the situation, but you are not forgiving as you accept. Can one forgive a dilapidated house? No, because a house is incapable of acting unfairly. As we clarify the definition of forgiving, the answers to so many become clearer. When we unwittingly equate the meaning of forgiving with forgetting, disappointment and acceptance, the precise meaning of forgiveness is lost.

Hmmm….

I’m not so sure I agree.

Dr. Enright’s Definition—

Forgiving is an act of mercy toward an offender, someone who does not necessarily deserve our mercy. It is a gift to our offender for the purpose of changing the relationship between ourselves and those who have hurt us.

Based on his definition, I see his point of view, yet his opinion really got me thinking.

What is my definition of forgiveness? Is forgiveness something I can only offer a person (or an institution in which Dr. Enright suggested you narrow this down to specific person or person to forgive)? Can the offender be me? Meaning—according to his definition—can I forgive myself?

So many questions…

Today’s Contemplation:

What is your opinion? Can you forgive a body part that ails you? Do you consider it forgiveness when you work on letting go of the ill effects caused by natural disasters? Or do you agree with Dr. Enright?

Also a deeper contemplation—How do you personally define forgiveness? Does your definition include things such as forgiving your body and/or phenomenon that you can’t control, such as a natural disaster?

Alright, dear one. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on today’s topic.

Post a comment below and share your perspective.

Thanks for taking the time to explore your thoughts with our community,

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Today’s Feature Image: “Fisherman” by Ben Grey on Flickr

6 comments on “Can One Forgive Something Other Than A Person—Such As Their Body Or A Natural Disaster?”

  1. I think for me I’m considering forgiveness necessary anytime I feel anything other than peace inside. I can see how acceptance, letting go, and forgiveness can be separated but my definition of forgiveness includes all three. I’m starting to say, “I forgive myself and I set myself free.” It feels really good to do this.

  2. People (and by people I mean especially me) tend to hate it when someone takes advantage of them and hurts them in some way. The natural instinct is to fight back. Who wants to acquiesce and let someone else get away with hurting them? Let them ‘win’ and get away with it by forgiving them? Where is the justice in that?

    In order to forgive I have to finally let go of the notion of getting even; losing that ‘eye for an eye’ mindset. It’s so hard, but after doing it and getting over the notion of getting justice, I can move on. After I do forgive, the issue starts to fade and a feeling of peace magically displaces the anger.

  3. My personal definition of forgiveness is all about me. The act of forgiveness is not something I do for others or things outside of myself. It is all about my attitude changing and as such is for me and not about something I give away for any change in others or things. My forgiving does not benefit anyone but me and it is irrelevant if others accept my forgiveness or I benefit from their accepting that forgiving. I do it for me so I can forgive a hurricane or a balky back or other body part although none of those things can accept my forgiveness. Forgiving changes me by easing my mind on the harmful (to me) subject of the forgiving. It does not matter if anyone or anything accepts my forgiveness therefore I can forgive whatever I need to forgive.

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