“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.”

We are nothing, if not interesting creatures. We have an innate desire to have companionship, yet we find relationships to be one of the most difficult areas to engage in, effectively. We often treat those closest to us worse than we do strangers.

That is why forgiveness is such an important concept. But there are a few things that can get in the way:

  1. We treat forgiveness as if it is something to be earned
  2. We think forgiveness allows people to walk over us
  3. We don’t know how to put our emotions aside
  4. We think forgiveness and consequences don’t mix

There are a few things we can learn about forgiveness that I believe this principle of the month will help us with. Instead of using this principle as communication between multiple individuals, just apply it inwardly to yourself.

“Hatred stirs up strife…” It is true that hatred stirs up strife between people, but holding on to hatred, also stirs up strife in your own heart. Hatred can be very damaging to others, but it is more damaging to yourself if you cannot learn to forgive others.

“…but love covers all transgressions.” It is easy to think that if we forgive someone it somehow nullifies the consequences. If we take this part of the principle literally, then that tends to be true. However, let’s again apply this inwardly.

When we have love in our hearts (not romantic love, but compassion for people), enough to forgive, it frees us from the bonds of hatred and allows us to move on with our lives when transgressions come against us.

That doesn’t mean it’s immediate. Some things are indeed hard to fully forgive. It requires us to love the person who wronged us, in order for us to reach the point of forgiveness. But that doesn’t mean our forgiveness is void of consequences. If someone breaks my trust, I can fully forgive them for that, but that doesn’t mean I will give them more responsibility or more to be held accountable for.

The truth in both portions of this principle is: forgiveness is for us, not for the one who has transgressed. Think about it. If someone hurts you or wrongs you, and you forgive them and move on, who do you think is suffering? It’s certainly not you.

When you find yourself in a place of hurt, frustration, or anger that is a result of another person’s actions or behavior, try this instead:

  1. Focus on finding compassion for the other person instead of how it made you feel
  2. Remember that forgiveness is not for them, but for you
  3. Keep in mind that you can forgive someone but still allow the consequences of their actions or behavior to play out in full

It’s not easy and takes time to learn, but in the end, it will be worth it.