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Season of Forgiveness

September 17, 2010

How awesome is it to have a whole day to be in community and focus on forgiveness?! Tonight begins Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is a time of seeking forgiveness and of offering it, too.

Here’s the way it works. If I’ve done something to offend just God, well, that’s mostly between me and God. But if I want to repent for something I’ve done to harm or offend another person, the first step (before going to God) is to go to that person, sincerely apologize and ask that person for forgiveness. And if I’m on the flip side of some wrongdoing and the “wrongdoer” sincerely apologizes to me and asks for forgiveness, the gracious thing for me to do is to grant it.

That’s the framework for this holiest day on the Jewish calendar, but the whole person-to-person forgiveness idea is pretty powerful for anyone, whether you bring God into the equation or not.

It takes humility to ask for forgiveness. It takes strength to grant it. Even more empowering, I think, is to OFFER forgiveness without even being asked. When we forgive, yes, we offer the “offender” freedom. Above all, though, we set ourselves free. Free from anger. Free from all those painful, constricting thoughts and feelings that clench our bodies into tight balls of tension. Forgiveness creates space. Forgiveness makes room for openness and creativity and joy.

Forgiveness does not mean condoning the offense. It simply means making peace with the fact that it happened and then moving forward. Forgiveness is a powerful way to get unstuck.

I’m really looking forward to my day to focus on this.

Wishing you peace,


Coach’s Query

Where can you free yourself by offering forgiveness?

One Comment
  1. brenda permalink

    what a great, meanigful and simple way to explain Yom Kippur, and what I great reminder that it’s as much about forgiveness as it is about atonement. Have a meaningful fast. G’mar tov

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