To forgive someone means to release the negative emotions associated with a trespass or mishap. Ideally, forgiving should also mean forgetting. But that's not always possible.
Forgiveness is a process, says psychologist Karen Swartz, M.D. "It is a choice to let go of negative feelings, whether the person deserves it or not."
There's no one-size-fits-all definition of forgiveness, but it can be characterized by an awareness that you have wronged others and a willingness to forgive them. The process is a spiritual practice that can lead to healing, peace and joy.
Jesus’ example of forgiving those who convicted him is a powerful model. It helps us to understand that God is forgiving and that He can help us to do the same.
Holding a grudge can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Chronic anger puts you into a state of stress and leads to many health problems, including high blood pressure, depression and heart disease. Forgiveness can relieve those symptoms, according to Swartz.
Forgiveness can help you to feel better about yourself, your relationship with others and your spiritual beliefs. It can also lead to positive changes in your physical health.
To be forgiving requires you to consciously decide to let go of negative emotions, such as anger, resentment and hostility toward the person who wronged you. The act of forgiving can be a difficult process, but it's one that almost everyone can improve.