Archbishop Desmond Tutu had every right to not forgive his worst enemies during apartheid—the racial segregation and oppression of nonwhite South Africans beginning in 1949—and yet when he chose to do so, he changed the world for the better.
Tutu helped to break the cycle of oppression, uprising, and retaliation in his native South Africa not by encouraging his oppressed followers to violence, but by asking them to forgive. Because of his advocacy of non-violence, of abandoning the right to revenge, South Africa is a much more peaceful place today. Apartheid was torn down by through death, but through negotiation.
Thus is the power of forgiveness, and what it did for the people of South Africa, it can do for you, too.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you naively allow others to repeatedly wrong you—it simply means that you let go of the idea of revenge against the person who wronged you without excusing the wrong. When you forgive, you limit yourself to seeking justice rather than seeking to hurt. That’s an important difference.
Deliberately cultivating the ability to forgive has many benefits, both for yourself, and to those around you, so let’s take a look at 8 reasons to forgive even your worst of enemies.