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Forgiveness

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Forgiveness may be explained in many different ways. I would like to say that forgiveness is letting go of anger, bitterness, resentments, thoughts of revenge and hurt.

By embracing forgiveness, we welcome peace and hope. The truth is that nearly everyone has been hurt by the deeds or words of another.

These wounds can leave us with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and even rage. But when we do not practice forgiveness, we may be the ones who pay most dearly.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting; rather, it simply means learning to let go of the feelings that might be detrimental to our emotional, mental, spiritual and even physical health.

I know it is hard to forgive but I also know it helps to forgive. "To err is human but to forgive is divine," to quote Alexander Pope, one of our contemporary philosophers.

Researchers have given evidence that holding on to grudges, anger and bitterness may result in long-term health complications; while forgiveness, on the other hand, may offer numerous benefits including lower blood pressure, stress and anxiety reduction, excellent heart rate, healthier relationships, and greater religious or spiritual well-being, to name just a few.

Forgiveness cannot be one sided. Rather, it should derive from both sides. We must always initiate forgiveness toward others. The other person may not accept our offer for reconciliation.

In any case, we will feel good for having initiated it. Forgiveness should be everyone's responsibility. The responsibility is yours, mine, and it is ours.

Let's go therefore and forgive, and enjoy the freedom that comes with forgiveness.