“Listen, you think you’re over something, think you’re ready to get on with your life.  This is how you really find out if you’re over something or not.  If you get the opportunity to get even with somebody who did you wrong and you don’t take it, then you’re over it; but if you don’t and you beat the hell out of them, you ain’t over it yet.” Tyler Perry’s Madea in “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”.

Forgiveness is a bigger word than it’s eleven letter grouping appears, and by language standards eleven letters is a big word.  In those letters lie the most powerful action one can give or receive, especially if it is unconditional as what is implied when talked about by others.  Unconditional forgiveness has no conditions, and as Madea stated it is not revenge if the opportunity arises.  Because it is so far from human nature is the reason it is such a powerful thing to receive or give.

This act of forgiveness is so powerful, it is the essential core of the highest form of love.  When someone forgives, truly forgives, it is based on love: love of others, of self, and especially of the Lord.  Love that the Lord has for humans was expressed in His life and in ours.  (John 15:13-14)  The military incorporates this concept into each of our service personnel:  no greater thing than to “lay down his life” for someone else.  That is the greatest gift someone can receive and true forgiveness is the same.

There is no thought of any kind of harm to the other party, even if they do deserve the hatred one feels toward the perpetrator.  Thus one needs to forgive not only those who don’t “deserve” to be forgiven, but those who don’t ask to be forgiven.  Forgiveness is greater for the person giving the true forgiveness than the one receiving it,  even though it is the biggest blessing to one who needs to be forgiven.

“You know, I know this man put a hurting on you, baby; but you got to forgive him.  No matter what he done, you got to forgive him,  not for him, but for you.”  Myrtle Jean (Cicely Tyson) in “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” .

Next:  Forgiveness– What is in it for me?  (Why forgive others)