What Does Forgiveness Mean?

Forgiveness is a concept which has been referenced on a grand scale by social scientists and clergy for time immemorial.

Anytime a clergyperson needs a subject for a sermon, forgiveness hits the spot. Lectures from traditional, and so-called new wave teachers, focus abundant energies to this subject matter. I wonder what the motivation is, and the driving force behind this popular subject.

Given the copious amount of reading material available on forgiveness, I can’t help but look for a salient component that stands out. Yet, one observation I want to note is body language, which crosses many planes of reference. When a lecture or sermon is listened to, heads bow downward. In this example, what is the language nonverbally stated? Certainly the answer is subjective. But, the principal speaker’s goal is to simply force us to stop and look within. Who of us is clearly free from the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual effects of forgiveness?

My professional experience has provided a vision into the psyches of many depressed, anxious and psychotic folks. Once trust has been established, forgiveness, or lack of, eventually finds its way to the surface from deep within the individual’s psyche. The source identified often speaks to a singular, or grouping, of traumatic events; or sometimes a slight that somehow penetrates the psyche. The overall effect can be devastating, painful and injurious on a grand scale. Before I go any further, allow me to interject with a profound sentiment: “For the sufferer, for the professional helper, each story is complicated.”

The act of forgiveness lies deep within the safety and confines of one’s psyche. It’s not so simple as to call upon the individual to let it go, or just do it. However, a key factor toward healing is the realization that they may benefit from a journey through pain, time, patience and tolerance.

Forgiveness carries the seed of love. However, at times, acting out love in a healthy manner can be challenging for many sufferers. The journey through pain may not necessarily be enjoyable; yet, glimmers of hope can be a constant reminder of getting unstuck and finding the love within. Forgiveness is a powerful release of infectious energies that prevent holistic growth. Many grieve the loss of life unlived to its full potential. Yet, the risks and its associated benefits can potentiate rewards of health and well-being.

An explanation of the full scope and meaning of forgiveness continues to be researched and explored by secular and non-secular professionals. But, I have experienced the growth potential that sufferers have benefited from by taking the risk of coming unstuck. The journey is of one’s own, yet in partnership with a professional and with God, one may free themselves from the bonds that hold them back and an enjoyment of life can be manifested. The spirit of love can then be reached, experienced and become a source of transformation. Be well, and best of health.

Greenstein is a licensed mental health counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist. Hutton And Greenstein Counseling Services, which offers counseling and psychotherapy for individuals, groups, marital and family, is located at 501 W. Third St., Suite 2B, in Jamestown. For more information call 484-7756.