Forgiveness alters so much inside us and so little outside us.
Hope often stands in the way of forgiveness, for we feel we need not forgive that which we may yet be able to change.
Forgiveness turns on understanding simultaneously that we have less power than we imagined over the other and that the other has less power over us than we imagined.
Forgiveness always involves the dissolution of an imaginary bond which has made for a real bondage. Forgiveness frees us.
The road to forgiveness often lies through hatred, for it is impossible to reach the end of a path we refuse to travel.
Real forgiveness is unlikely to be self-congratulatory, for it bears the impress of too much grief.
Forgiveness requires one degree of invention beyond what we apply in hurting and being hurt. Forgiveness is larger than hurt.
Forgiving, which enriches us, comes always with the pain of the sorrow of recognizing the futility of the wish that what happened to us could have been otherwise.
We can not hold a grudge against another without secretly holding a grudge against ourselves. Every act of forgiveness involves an act of creative inner reconciliation with our own limitations. It is the paradox of forgiveness that we grow by admitting limitation and so discovering new frontiers of ourselves. Even bitterness has its place because, once bound within us, it can lend its energy and ferocity to future kindness.
To forgive we must understand ourselves. We must understand both the ways in which we have been hurt and the ways in which we have not been hurt. It is often the understanding of the limits of the hurt that we have received that is most difficult. To forgive we must map both what is compromised in us and what is still intact.
If it is the case that the grudges we hold hold us, protecting us against yet deeper fears, then forgiveness is a letting go that lets us go into new realms we have previously been frightened to explore.
Forgiveness happens on the periphery of our attention and intentions as the old guilts and grudges diffuse, so that we remark after a while in a stray moment that we are unable to trace their elements accurately enough to recompose them as distinct figures in our experience.
A better word than forgiveness would be “forgrieveness,” because forgiveness never comes except as a result of grief and the incapacity to grieve is the incapacity to forgive.