"A wise old Catholic priest once told me in the confessional box that there is no point asking for God's forgiveness unless you are prepared to forgive others as well as yourself. I was kindly reminded that God is love and that love is nothing less than an act of endless forgiveness; a tender look which becomes a habit. It was from this discussion I learned that darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate and anger cannot drive out anger; only love can do that.
From the moment of that revelation at an early age of my life, I resolved to change both my outlook and purpose. From that moment forth, life became an adventure in forgiveness, starting with myself.
Previous to this walk along the road to Damascus, I had spent a number of years having been given numerous second chances and never taking them.Then the worst thing that ever happened to me became the best thing, when I was run over by a lorry at the age of eleven and told that I'd never walk again because of my damaged spine.
For the next three years, I could not walk. Paradoxically, as my muscles in my body weakened, my belief in myself and in God strengthened. Spending almost nine months in a hospital bed gave me plenty of time to think upon my many failings, then something strange happened to change my life irretrievably. I started to think upon my many strengths and how I could make them work for me in my future life. In this change of attitude, I discovered that I had started to forgive myself and following that, I even started to love myself again.
Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we first suffered and it can be extremely difficult to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness; no earthly redemption to be had. I learned that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies and more likely to love ourselves.
When one thinks about it, as Marlene Dietrich once remarked, 'There's no point in burying a hatchet if you’re going to put up a marker on the site.' When we truly forgive another we confer dignity, but when we forget we merely express contempt. Forgiving is not forgetting. It's letting go of the hurt. To forgive is to change the future and not the past.
Too often before I realised all this, when I erred, my automatic response was to say, 'I'm sorry' in the belief that these few words of apology would be enough. I have learned that sometimes though, saying 'sorry' is not enough. Sometimes we actually have to change to express true regret for past wrongs." William Forde: July 17th, 2015.. https://youtu.be/J2e4NlnLr28