Friday, October 24, 2008

A Quote From Thomas Fuller On Forgiveness

Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)
English Clergyman and Historian

"He that cannot forgive others
breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself;
for every man has need to be forgiven."
~ Thomas Fuller

A Few Thoughts:

Nothing demands as much, nor rewards so completely, as forgiveness. In its purest form, the act of forgiving requires the ego to suspend its need to prevail. A profound selflessness is at the core of the perfect offering of forgiveness.

Is it any wonder finding forgiveness is so often such a difficult thing to do? Our very pride must be supplanted by humility before an honest attempt at forgiving can even be made. But like most demanding commodities, the more we employ them, the easier they become to enlist.

Offering an apology is often the least threatening way of soliciting forgiveness. Lending apology and forgiveness so often invites reciprocation in kind. How often does it come to pass after saying to someone, "I'm sorry. It was all my fault," are we met with, "No. no. I'm the one who should be sorry. It was all my fault." The healing is instantaneous and comprehensive. The fleeting yet genuine intimacy that is achieved provides a nearly transcendent moment of mutual harmony.

As one who is in need of much forgiveness, I am taking the wise words of Thomas Fuller to heart and using them to challenge my more intransigent nature and become a more forgiving person.

If only sublimating one's pride weren't such a formidable task.


  1. I think the line "the act of forgiving requires the ego to suspend its need to prevail" is at the heart of forgiveness. I feel that we need to be able to look at ourselves and what is coloring our perceptions such as anger, fear or guilt for us to truly be able to forgive. When we can see the humanness in ourselves and forgive ourselves for it, then true forgiveness for others becomes much stronger.

    Eileen R. Borris, author "Finding Forgiveness A 7 Step Program for Letting go of Anger and Bitterness.

  2. Wise words, indeed, Eileen. Forgiving ourselves seems to be a virtual prerequisite for finding the ability to forgive others.

    I commend you for committing yourself professionally to the goal of helping people find forgivenesss in their lives. Yours is no doubt among the noblest of vocations. I am also anxiously looking forward to exploring your web site to educate myself further on this important subject.

    Thank you for your wise counsel.

  3. In most cases I think it is far more easier a task to offer forgiveness than to ask for it.

    The exception of course being in the case of those who have hurt us terribly physically and emotionally through abuse. But, I have found when I was finally able to totally give forgiveness, it was very healing for myself as well as the person needing the forgiveness. Not easy, but good.

    Of course that doesn't mean we set ourselves up to be hurt again, but I believe we can offer true forgiveness while keeping the physical and/or emotional boundries needed for well being.

  4. Great thoughts on forgiveness. In order to forgive, we must dispense of our unnecessary pride. As Wayne Dyer says, "The ego often gets in the way of true self discover." By forgiving others we get to know ourselves better.

    As singer/songwriter James Taylor says "what will you do with that foolish pride when you're all by yourself alone?" Forgiveness is much better than false pride.

  5. There is only one person I cannot me selfish.

    I was visiting my mother one Easter. I have MS and need a intramuscular injection (Big stinking needles). My husband did not join me and I told him my aunt would take over, since he is usually my injector.

    I get to my moms and the night I need my aunt (who is a registered nurse) to give me my injection, which will only take about 2 minutes, says she is too tired and will not do it.

    I go ballistic and am screaming and crying. I am 7 hours from home and no one at my mothers knows how to give injections.

    So my sister starts calling people at her church and about 2 hours later, finds a nurse who will meet us at my sisters church and gives me my injection.

    From that day forward, I have never forgiven my aunt and have never spoken to her since. I do think back on the incident from time to time, but it is not my every waking thought and does not eat me alive.

    I have moved on with my life and sleep easy at night with the decision I have made. I hope she can say the same about her decision.

    Sorry I vented Bill:(

  6. I must say, what you have not forgiven on the part of your aunt certainly seems difficult to forgive. It is your honesty that impresses me right now.

    Maybe this call to forgiveness speaks to an ideal to strive for and something no one completely achieves.

    I can relate to - and even admit myself - that I have not always managed to readily forgive.

    Does forgiving someone in your heart without actually communicating it directly to your transgressor mean as much?

    Your point is well taken. If we are prepared to live with the consequences, then not forgiving becomes quite viable, does it not?

  7. Your thought about APOLOGY are most useful