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True answers to forgiveness questions

How to forgive deep and painful offenses?  Does forgiving mean forgetting what has been done?  Does love really cover everything?  Is Jesus asking for help in the process of forgiveness?

The first people I interviewed about forgiveness in their lives are Linda and David Gavini.  Linda immediately remembers that her husband had a good example of forgiveness.  And David begins: ”I haven’t dramatized events in my life, so I haven’t had to forgive anyone.  But I understood the true meaning of forgiveness while visiting Africa.  My view of forgiveness changed, when I came across the example of Nelson Mandela’s life.  After spending 27 years in prison, Mandela was able to forgive his perpetrators and work together to transform South Africa into a united, democratic and racist-free state.
 I learn from strong examples and recommend that others do the same.  But everyone has a different forgiveness. If, for example, we compare across offenses.  How can I compare what has been done to me with, say, the victims of violence.  Then I have nothing to forgive. ”

Then Linda begins her story: “I feel like I’m forgiving pretty easily.  But that doesn’t mean I forget.  When I meet that person, I will not think constantly about what they have done, but, obviously, there will be a situation that will remind me of that.  You just need to get over it.  If you have decided to forgive, you really have to forgive.  You have to convince yourself to forget about it – to stop “baking” it and live on.  It is important to decide to forgive!  You have to make that decision yourself.  Others can’t help it.


My biggest, most painful example of forgiveness is with my father.  Without even realizing it, my father hurt me a lot.  It took many years for me to accept the idea that I could forgive him.  When I realized I could, I was able to “close the door” in the past.  We spoke.  I said what I wanted.  After that, I was still upset, but I was no longer angry.  Before that, I had planned what I would say, how it would happen … But God arranged everything differently.  It was even better.  There was peace in me … I was no longer in pain and anger, I was no longer unable to forgive.  It turns out all I needed to be able to forgive was talking to my father.  But each forgiveness is different.  I have never compared across offenses.  However, I think – the more pain, the harder it is to forgive.
I did not turn to God for help in the forgiveness process.  I did not know that I needed to forgive my father to reconcile with him.  So I didn’t pray much about it.  Forgiveness is certainly much easier if there is great trust in God.  Perhaps it was God’s decision that He gave this meeting with my father only when I was ready to forgive my father …
         For those who live in unforgiveness, I recommend listening to yourself.  I encourage you to ask forgiveness for your children, because that is how we teach them to begin the path of forgiveness.”

Here’s what Zanda Dzērve reveals about forgiveness: “In my experience, forgiveness is a cycle that can take weeks, months, and even years. I usually have to go through certain stages in the path of forgiveness: first I get angry, then I accept, then I start to analyze myself (what upset me or hurt me at this event, what provoked it, etc.) and then I have to start forgiving … My normal process of forgiveness lasts three weeks.  But divorce, for example, is such a serious matter that I have been in this forgiveness process for more than ten years.  The resentment peels off like an onion.  You remove one layer – remove anger, hatred and other painful things. And then comes the question: “What will I do with it?”  My recipe is prayer.   Through prayer I go to forgiveness.  It is not a prayer for God to release me from anything.  I pray for the one who has hurt me.  Only by praying for him do I get free from what’s inside me.  When I did it the other way around, when I prayed for myself, I fell back.  I had to start all over again.  “Free me from it, I don’t need it, etc….” prayer like that doesn’t work for me …  It doesn’t heal me.  But when I started to pray for the offender and talk kindly about them.  When I began to pray for his life to be sorted out, my life miraculously sorted out too.  Then my life becomes much easier.  I don’t know what’s going on there and what magic is happening, but it’s all getting better.  And when I feel that everything is fine, I peel the next “layer of onion” and take the peel off.  It goes very deep, to the very foundations, to the very soul, to the core.  And then comes the feeling of the person who hurt you.  You don’t feel threatened.  You meet him on the street, and you have no trouble, you have peace.  You can rejoice if he does well.  You are not looking for information about him, you can devote yourself completely to your life.  You are free.  Forgiveness is freedom!  A few transactions remain in the memory.  They cannot be erased with an eraser as unprecedented.  But you can watch them from a distance.  They don’t hurt you anymore.  You take them for granted as facts in life.  I still extract the “essence” of these painful events.  The most important thing in this process of forgiveness is to look at yourself.  Not – why did the other person do it to me, but – why did this person want to do it to me?  Why have I allowed me to do this?  Why haven’t I responded to the alerts?
 That is why I am so much in favor of values.  Be clear about the boundary that no one can cross, which is your holiness.  My story hopefully is a blessing for others.”

And how about you?  Have you been able to forgive the perpetrators?  Do you do it in your own power or in the power of the Holy Spirit?  What is your forgiveness story?  Share it by writing to us at