What is forgiveness. . . ? It is a unique thing. Biblically speaking, it is given freely, and often this priceless forgiveness is dispensed via family or a loved one. Scripture titles this unmerited favor, or freely given forgiveness, 'Grace'. To give this grace to a loved one or family member, is often easy. But try giving it to someone you barely know, don't know at all, or to an enemy, or ask for it from such a person who barely knows you, or who you are an enemy to. Not as easy...
I have experienced forgiveness, as well as unforgiveness in my lifetime. As a person who has failed many, including myself, I've experienced unforgiveness, and rightfully so, from a community as a whole. Much of that community is my own family and friends. I get it though, I too have had difficulty throughout my life being able to forgive at times.
I have been on the end of receiving forgiveness as well, usually when it hasn't been deserved, and it is an unreal feeling to be given this undeserved gift. It is special when you receive forgiveness from a known person, but when it comes from people who you wouldn't expect, it is mind blowing. This forgiveness, received from an individual who for no other reason gives it because they listen to a heart that tells them to do so, this act is done out of a Christ-like love. I've been forgiven and shown love in my lifetime by people who I honestly can't explain why they'd do such a thing, except that they too must have been forgiven much in their lifetime.
In the time I spent in the community between my two incarcerations I also experienced very cruel and unforgiving individuals and communities of people as a whole. Already having a past to stand before, life was at times very difficult. Living in the shadow of a mistake filled past, coupled with unforgiveness from people, sometimes made it feel impossible to overcome that mistake filled past.
I have learned that living an unforgiving life leads to bitterness, pain, and disease for yourself. Unforgiveness breeds unforgivness, and so to, forgiveness is like a wildfire, from a tiny spark, or the forgiving of a small offense, that forgiveness will spread. If you want to see a forgiving world, start forgiving!
When your past is continually thrown in your face, how can you possibly overcome that past? When you're constantly made to believe you are unworthy of forgiveness, what reward is there to change? In order to overcome a past rattled with poor choices and decisions, one needs forgiveness, and forgiveness is rooted in love. I strive to live a life of forgiveness, but at times it is a difficult task to perform. In the end it not only hurts the other person, but will hurt you as well.
Is forgiveness important? I ask you. . . what is more important? Forgiveness heals self, and it heals communities. . . FORGIVENESS is PRICELESS!