Forgiving others—forgiving ourselves
“A person’s ability to forgive is in proportion to the greatness of his soul. Little men cannot forgive.” 1 “Tell them,” said a beloved associate, “tell them to learn to forgive.” 2 One thing to remember—in marriage, in the family, in all relationships of life—we are always dealing with imperfect people, including ourselves. And it isn’t fair to expect perfection in others when we can’t offer it ourselves. Life moves one way. We can’t go back. But we can go forever forward: improving, repenting, understanding, forgiving others—even forgiving ourselves—not justifying our faults, not saying that the wrong we do is right, but not defeating our own future, forever unforgiving or unforgiven. Once a year—or oftener—all of us should clear out the clutter, the things that are useless to us, that get in our way and add confusion to our lives and impede our progress. But even oftener we should look at our unforgiving grudges, and not nurse them or hold to them or keep them alive. An unresolved grudge gnaws at our hearts, disturbs our peace, and is a burden we would well be rid of. God will forgive whom he will, but of us it is required to forgive. We should forgive not only for what it does for others, but as a favor to ourselves, because forgiving relieves us of a lingering uneasiness inside ourselves. Oh, what easing of our relationships with loved ones, and with others also, with a lightening of our own lives, as we learn to forgive! And what other way is there? What are the alternatives? How can we expect forgiveness if we don’t forgive? What incentive would there be to improve and to repent if there were no forgiveness?
We should forgive as we wish to be forgiven.
There is no unimportant person
As we remember the words of the Master of mankind, the poor in spirit come to mind at this moment. Whatever else it may mean, there are many who are downhearted and discouraged, who feel little appreciation, little part, little purpose, little of life’s fulfillment; many who somehow have come to have a poor opinion of themselves. We remember the words of a young girl who said, “I’m nobody special. I’m just a person. I don’t mean anything to anyone. I don’t even mean much to me.” Children who are made to feel that they are not important, not wanted, not noticed, often shrink within themselves and fail to realize what they could become. One of the most precious and most essential things in all this world is the sense of belonging, of being wanted, useful, having a purpose, having a part, being appreciated. Children, young people, old people—all need to know that they are important and appreciated; that they can make their meaningful contribution to the total. Letting a person think little of himself is a pitiful waste. There is nobody who is nothing. The impaired, the handicapped, the shy, the sad, the untrained, the uneducated—each one surely should receive the encouragement he needs to help him respect and have confidence in himself; to learn all he can, to do all he can, to be all he can; to receive some meaningful assignment to the full extent of his powers and capacity. Oh, to help every person feel that he belongs, to realize his possibilities, with kindness, encouragement, compassion, remembering that each is made in the image of his Maker, that there is no such thing as an unimportant person—not now, nor forever after. No one should feel that he matters little to others, or doesn’t mean much to himself. In the plans and providence of God, it simply isn’t so.