Here’s another letter from Daniel. So glad his parents are sorting things out. (Maybe they read your letter about ‘When Grown Ups Fight’!)
But many people are stuck in a place of anger / unforgiveness re: an ex, or someone else. What would you like to say to them?
It makes sense that when people hurt us, we don’t want to forgive.
What we often overlook is the cost of unforgiveness.
Let me share with you an African tale on how to catch a monkey.
Find a tree with a very small hole in the trunk. Take a handful of peanuts and while the monkey is watching you, push the peanuts into the hole in the tree. Now move away and wait. The monkey will soon come for the peanuts. But when he puts his hand into the hole and seizes the peanuts, his fist is now too big to get out the hole. He doesn’t want to let go the peanuts – so he’s stuck. Now you can catch your monkey!
That’s what happens to us when we hold onto unforgiveness. We think we’re punishing the person who hurt us but actually we keep ourselves stuck in one place. Sometimes we avoid forgiveness because we don’t want reconcilation with a particular person or situation. But forgiveness and reoconcilitation are not the same thing. We can choose to forgive, even if reconciliation isn’t desirable or advisable.
Forgiveness is choosing to let go of the ‘peanuts’ of anger and bitterness. These uncomfortable feelings are emotional termites that eat away our family’s happiness, if we don’t deal with them.
‘Peace on Earth’ doesn’t just happen. Peace happens one relationship at time. Peace happens when people choose to be peace-makers. And sometimes part of peace-making is forgiving. Did you know that our way of living is hugely influenced by the thoughts of the past four generations and that the thoughts we think will affect the next four generations? This Christmas let’s consciously choose the emotional legacy we leave to our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.
We can ask ourselves:
On a scale of 0-10 what example of forgiveness am I modelling to my children? (0 equals holding tightly to bitter, angry and unforgiving thoughts and 10 being free of those).
The word ‘forgiving’ is actually two words. What do I choose to give: to myself / myloved ones / that other person?
Christmas is a time a time for giving and for for-giving.
P.S. Check in tomorrow for my final letter this year. After that, Rudolph and I will busy with present deliveries.
P.P.S. Here are my other letters:
Day 2 ‘Need’ or ‘Want’
Day 4 Christmas Surprises
Day 6 No Money This Christmas
Day 7 Christmas is for Giving
Day 9 When Grown Ups Fight
Day 10 An Attitude of Gratitude