Welcome to Day Ten of the 30-Days of Forgiveness.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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Today’s Feature Image: “Fisherman” by Ben Grey on Flickr