Forgive Well to Live Well. Meet Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.
Patrick was a wild youth in England when raiders invaded and took Patrick to Ireland as a slave. Years later, Patrick escaped, reunited with family, and became a priest. But Ireland called in his dreams and he returned. The people of Ireland thought Patrick came for revenge. Instead, Patrick traveled the Emerald Isle telling his former captors their lives could be different.
Reacting out of bruised feelings hurts those we most love. It’s an emotional Hatfields and McCoys when you are hurt so you hurt others who are hurt so they hurt you back.
Patrick understood there is no path around, over, or under the pain of having been deeply wronged. He knew forgiveness is the fastest way out of the life-draining, soul-sucking emotional vampire known as bitterness.
Forgiveness is not blind injustice. Never does forgiveness condone the actions of the person who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t release an offender from the consequences of his or her actions.
Forgiveness is healthy boundaries. Forgiveness is not remaining in an abusive relationship. Forgiveness never tolerates abuse, addictions, or affairs.
Forgiveness is our choice. Most people who offend you will never ask for forgiveness. Our offender has no power over our choices. We give forgiveness with no expectations of the receiver.
Forgiveness is not forgetting. Experiences are chemically burned into our memories. Forgiveness prevents the abuser from having power over you and frees you from being sabotaged by the past.
Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness takes only one person. Reconciliation requires both sides. Reconciliation is not wise when emotional or physical safety is at risk.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. Like love, forgiveness is an action. You can act in a forgiving manner even when you do not feel like forgiving. Forgiveness is a courageous act of strength.
Forgiveness is not a magic wand. Those who forgive difficult spouses, parents, or children are not promised ideal relationships in the future. A challenging person frequently continues to stir friction.
Forgiveness is a lifestyle. Often the more grievous the offense, the more time required to experience forgiveness. Though easier to demand another person change, the only person you can truly affect for change is yourself.
Patrick’s extreme forgiveness of the people who had most harmed him had a deep impact on the Irish. The nation embraced Christ as Savior.
On March 17, we celebrate Saint Patrick’s world-changing example of living well by forgiving well.
History buff, and tropical island votary PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise.