Forgiveness… A Practice of Discernment

Forgiveness is a process. 

A path of intention and of practice. 

One element is discernment, the kind of discernment we do when we decide if, when and how we spend time with others when  relationships are tender and compromised.

As we live into another multi-holiday season, we will often be making choices about how to be together (or not)”celebrating” in times of fracture and pain.   As I support my clients in this season, I am reminded that the best framework for defining forgiveness INCLUDES — at the heart of its definition — the ongoing work of discernment.   It does not serve us well, I think, to define forgiveness as some kind of stand-alone transaction, that happens or occurs with a finality that then makes discernment about next steps possible.

Instead, practicing discernment about how and with whom we spend our time in this season can be viewed instead as part of forgiveness practice.*

Making choices

to spend time or not

to validate solitude or not

to draw certain boundaries or not

to set intentions or not

It’s all about practice–

holding truth and love,

honor of self and others,

past and present unfolding,

now and not yet.

A forgiveness practice could be just the right holiday practice…


* In my coaching and teaching, I prioritize Marjorie Suchocki’s definition of forgiveness, paraphrased here: “Taking into account the full extent of the harm done AND choosing to will the wellbeing of all the victims and all of the violators.”



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