I used to feel that forgiveness was something I did for someone else. In reality, I need to forgive for myself. My past perception of forgiveness was to forget the hurtful offense caused by the addict. This exposed me to be hurt again. So what does it mean to say, “I forgive you”? Am I releasing this person from accountability? Am I giving in to smooth things over or to get self-satisfaction?

If I am willing to say, “You don’t owe me anything,” I can forgive and let go of the resentments that keep me sick. I can get off the roller coaster that tosses me up and down. For without forgiveness, there is hatred, resentment, guilt, and shame. I can forgive the addict and myself.

My resentments will hold me captive as long as I hold onto them. We can compare this to a monkey trap: the monkey sees a piece of candy in a hole, then reaches in and grabs the candy. Holding the candy, the monkey cannot pull his hand out. He is trapped, as I am when there is no forgiveness.

Thought for Today: I forgive as an act of love and not as an act of power, control or judgment over another. Through forgiveness, I free myself by freeing others from judgment and condemnation.

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.” ~ Gerald G. Jampolsky