The Power of Forgiveness


I recently read a novel by Canadian author Lillian Nattel called The River Midnight . Set in 1894 Poland , it follows the lives of a Jewish community, and is rich in Yiddish wisdom. One of the traditions these people shared was to, once a year, ask everyone they knew for forgiveness if they had done anything in the past year to offend them. Forgiveness was always granted, and everyone began again with a fresh slate.

I thought this was a wonderful way to release any grudges . I also remembered the words of my own mother’s wisdom. She always reminded us that acid eats away at the container that holds it. Staying upset with someone only caused pain for the one who held on to the sense of being offended.

It is healthier to “just let it go”. This does not mean the offense was justified, or that whatever happened is okay. It just means we are choosing not to have a place inside us that is harboring thoughts and feelings that are toxic to our systems.

If someone has violated or betrayed us, we do not need to continue to associate with them. We should not stay in situations where we are being abused. We can move away from toxic people and situations, but what good does it do if we take our toxic feelings about them with us?

So what do we do about such things? Wayne Dyer said it best: “bless them, and move on.” “Bless them,” you might ask, “when they have hurt me so badly?”

Yes, bless them. As Misha, in the novel, might have said: “What can it hurt?”

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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