In life, some things are constant. One such is that offense will always characterize human relationships. This unavoidable trait of human interaction then results in one of the most powerful concepts of the universe – forgiveness.
For some people, especially religious folks, it’s a pretty easy concept to grasp. However, forgiveness is one of the most challenging acts to perform. This latter set of people doesn’t realize that there’s so much power in forgiveness.
In faith and beyond, forgiveness represents steps toward freedom for both the forgiver and the forgiven. “I came to this point where I realized that I’m holding on to this hatred, and it’s killing me inside. I need to let go.” Says Jason Greer, founder of Greer Consulting, Inc. (GCI), when narrating how his family was a victim of the 1991 cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan.
Greer’s work has been widely acclaimed in labor management and employee relations. The top 5% ranking of his company in the US, regarding employee and labor management, is a testament to how much he contributes to the finances of businesses across the country.
Jason claims that his broad life experience growing up has led him to understand the power of forgiveness through some critical lenses fully.
Critical Points to Note about Forgiveness
If there’s anyone who has gone through the hardest of ordeals and still learned to forgive, it’s Jason. Having experienced the harsh victimization of his family at a young age, he had every reason to continue hating the perpetrators of such evil and their generations to come. But he knew better and chose forgiveness for the following reasons.
Forgiveness is for you
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that holding a grudge against someone or a group of people can sow seeds of hatred in you. The hatred manifests in anger, resentment, and sometimes revenge. If left to grow, all these vices suck out the positivity from one’s life and make one unable to focus on what matters for the present and the future.
When asked how he could forgive the group that gave his family hell as a young man, Jason said, “It’s not about me forgiving the clan as much as it is about me letting go. Because I’m holding on to this pain and anger. However, my anger and resentment haven’t stopped the Klan from going out doing what the Klan does. That hasn’t stopped white supremacist organizations from going out. They don’t even remember what they did to me, but here I am with this memory that’s just solidified in my heart and driving me crazy. So, forgiveness wasn’t for them. The forgiveness is for me.”
You help other people change
The power forgiveness holds isn’t about just setting you free; it can also change the lives of others. As a complex process that requires empathy, compassion and understanding, your forgiveness can drastically change how others go about their lives. Taking the bold step of forgiving those who hurt you can soften their hearts to you and the rest of the world. It doesn’t take anything from you. Though it can sometimes blow back in your face, it’s a way to change people for the better.
Jason experienced this reality during one of his speech delivery events in Missouri. He had talked about how he forgave those who committed the generational sin to his family, and after the event, “someone tapped my shoulder, and he said ‘I’m so sorry for what we did to your family.'”
Jason felt it was just some white guilt at work, but the man who grabbed him said, “No. I was part of the group of people who burned crosses in protest of your family. I moved out of Dubuque because I was ashamed of what I did. And I never thought that I would meet you, your mother, or your father. And I still can’t believe you are in front of me. But I want to let you know that I’m so sorry.”
Since Jason chose to forgive first and talk about it, a perpetrator’s life changed forever. That is the power of forgiveness.