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By Mary Frances Hansen

Unfortunately, we live in a world of chaos, disrespect, hatred, and fear. This is not the world I grew up in. Great quote by President D. Eisenhower, “This world of ours must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

Respect has always been on the top of my list. My grandparents taught me to first respect myself because my God says in his word, Psalm 139:14, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made.”They taught me to have respect for others. Respect is defined as to feel or show esteem or honor for someone or something. Respect means you accept somebody for who they are even when they are different from you and don't agree with you. Respect holds relationships together by building feelings of trust, safety, and well-being. Respect is something that sometimes doesn't come naturally and we have to learn to be respectful.

We have all been hurt, disrespected, and deceived by someone in our lives. None of us are perfect, we have all made mistakes and may have hurt someone in our lives. Some people want to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for precipitating that hurt. What have you really accomplished by holding a grudge against someone who has hurt you???? Quit beating a dead horse! Sign the death certificate and bury the past. Some people have been inmates for many years because they won't let go of their hurts and feelings. Because of their unforgiveness, families and friends have been divided. We need to pursue the path of joy, love, peace and forgiveness.

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as... A conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. People who are stubborn and won't forgive are like a prisoner in a prison. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the prison gate. We must learn to forgive from the heart and not from the mind. It is important to remember forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace. Dr. Martin Luther King expresses ...”Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.” What a powerful quote!

Personally, I believe you can't forgive without loving. One must have the courage to stand up and say...”I forgive you and move on and forget the past.” I love Mahatma Gandi's quote...”The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” God tells us in the Bible, “To love one another as He loves us!” It is love that changes the world, not hate and disrespect. Great quote by the Dali Lama....”All religious traditions carry basically the same message; that is love, compassion, and forgiveness. The important things these traditions should be part of our daily lives. “ Forgiving a person may not be the easiest journey to get to that place, but one must realize, it is a powerful place once you get there, because it will set you free!!!”

I will close my article with Mother Teresa's beautiful prayer which has really touched my heart:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered...Forgive them anyway.

Stay strong and keep the faith.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;...Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; ...Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;...Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;...Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;...Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;...Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway.

WOW!...if we lived by those words, think what our every day lives would be like! “Laugh when you can, apologize when you should and let go what you can't change.


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