Forgiveness Wins

“It’s all about forgiveness.”
~Margo O’Byrne

The biggest test of our lives is to forgive. And while most of life we may get to live serendipitously, there are always parts when we are tested relationally. There will always come a time when we will be required to forgive. And if we don’t, we lose.


Oh, we don’t like losing. We hate it. It is humiliating and it exposes us in our deepest weakness. No one likes being a failure. Yet, we all get a turn.

In forgiveness, we may have the initial appearance of losing. The reality is if we don’t forgive, only then do we begin to lose.

Losing is paradoxical, so far as our lack of forgiveness is concerned. By holding on, we feel like we are asserting ourselves. The reverse actually occurs. We don’t gain control; we lose it.

Holding on to emotional material that prevents us from seeing life objectively is the sure way of losing.

Often the processes of holding on begin unconsciously. We don’t like what has occurred, but, because we are not aware of our inner disquiet, we don’t process it. It simmers and then begins to boil.

Sooner or later the holding on of unprocessed emotional material boils over the rim. When it begins to affect our relationships we suddenly become conscious that our lack of forgiveness is harmful. We become aware we are losing.

The only way to win at life, so far as relationships are concerned, which includes the relationship we have with ourselves, is to honour the truth of our hurt by acknowledging what occurred and by working on forgiving transgressions – others’ and ours (yes, self-forgiveness is crucial, too).


This is no competitive winning. It is the essence of a communal win, but one hedged about by our own victory; one facilitated by the wisdom to take Faith at its word; to put our stubborn selfishness on the backburner.

The ancients had Faith and they implore us, down the line, to drink of its wisdom.

When we win with forgiveness we show the world how to win in the only way winning is sustainably achievable. This sort of win, to endure much pain at times, in honouring Faith, is an ever-blooming prize of a freed soul.


Forgiveness is a precipice in a non-negotiable game. The circumstances of life take us to this craggy rock face most days and we are afforded no real choice when wisdom is known.

There is no benefit in not forgiving. But, there is eventual benefit in forgiving.

But it always takes courage to forgive. If we can enlist such courage, underpinned by humility and raw intestinal fortitude, we will be able to forgive – which is simply one singular choice after another in a series of choices to issue grace, most of which is ill-deserved.

But our forgiveness strengthens us; it strengthens our loved ones; and it weakens the enemy toward the direction of love. And where the transgressor is no enemy at all, forgiveness is the ultimate second chance – not to go on transgressing, but it’s a second chance to get it right.

Besides all the foregoing, our commitment to forgive, over and over and over again, is our commitment to survival and personal growth. Why would we not be interested in these things?


Making life work is all about forgiveness. On the surface it seems a ‘doormat’ philosophy. Nothing could really be further from the truth. It takes courage and wisdom to forgive. Forgiveness is not for the fainthearted, but anyone may achieve it.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, FSIA, RSP[Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). Steve writes at: and

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