Opinion: The Significance of Forgiveness


Katie Ledford

Junior Ally Moore reaches out to her friend with forgiveness.

Katie Ledford, Staff Writer and Editor

“Forgiveness” is one of those words that has accumulated an abundance of connotations over time. That leaves us to wonder, what’s its true significance?

To me, forgiveness seems to be a topic that is individualistic. Everyone has their own concept and personal opinion of forgiveness. But often times, people don’t realize the unbelievable transformative power forgiveness offers.

According to merriam-webster.com, forgiveness is simply defined as “the act of forgiving.”

This dull definition isn’t satisfying for me. Forgiveness means so much more than an “act.” In fact, forgiveness has come to be the focal point of my life, although it may be primarily working behind the scenes.

According to psychologytoday.com, “To forgive is to exercise goodness even toward those who are not good to you… I say it is heroic because which other moral virtue concerns the offer of goodness, through one’s own pain, toward the one who caused that pain?”

I think forgiveness is redemption without anger, bitterness, or resentment. To sum it up, it’s a gift and an honor.

During my early years of high school, I didn’t understand the power behind forgiveness. Whenever I did someone wrong, I felt guilty, apologetic, and unworthy of that person’s understanding. As a result, I began to hold grudges against myself. Even when the other person wasn’t offended over what I’d done, I would continue to criticize and ridicule myself. I wouldn’t allow anyone to forgive me. I knew I hadn’t earned the care or warmth people would so often generously offer.

This habit of self-denigration continued on much longer than it should have, and it only escalated with time. The criticism flowed into every part of my life, and I felt like I had dug myself into a hole that I’d never get out of on my own.

Around the middle of my sophomore year, a friend intervened into my chaos (thankfully) and changed my self-concept more than she’ll ever know. I truly and wholeheartedly believe that without this friend, I’d still be spiraling downward in my self-judgement today.

After learning the worth of forgiveness, I changed from the inside out. I started to believe that I hadn’t messed up to a point beyond repair. My feeling of hopelessness began to dissipate as I was directly told that I’m worthy of friendship and the love that comes with it.

According to mayoclinic.org, “…if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”

When comparing my freshman self with who I am now, as a senior, I don’t want to know who I’d be if I was never informed about forgiveness. Hypothetical situations are a scary thing, and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about this “what if.”

Friends, I urge you to discover your own personal understanding of forgiveness. Then, if you find that forgiveness is everything you’ve been searching for, take advantage of the opportunities to share it with others. It might just be enough to stop a downward spiral or two.