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Originally published June 30, 2010 at 3:18 PM | Page modified July 2, 2010 at 9:12 PM

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Faith & Values

If you want forgiveness, you must forgive

Forgiving others who have hurt our feelings can bring us peace of mind and please God. Doing so can have a positive effect on our health and relationships, while keeping us at peace with those around us.

Special to The Seattle Times

Forgiving others who have hurt our feelings can bring us peace of mind and please God. Doing so can have a positive effect on our health and relationships, while keeping us at peace with those around us.

In Islam, God puts a great emphasis on the virtue of forgiveness. God says in the Quran:

If you pardon, forget, and forgive, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

Quran 64:14

There is something incongruous about asking for God's forgiveness for our transgressions but holding back our forgiveness from another person who has wronged us. If we want God to forgive us, then we must forgive one another.

Many, many people today walk around holding grudges and harboring anger that hurts no one but themselves. Most probably don't realize what that anger does to their health and well-being — even as it causes them emotional pain and misery every day.

It's heartbreaking when someone deceives or hurts you, and finding it within yourself to have faith and forgive can be a struggle at times.

How many times have you gotten into a disagreement with a friend, family member or someone at work and been offended by a sarcastic comment or disrespectful remark?

Hauling around a stressful load of resentment can cause us harm mentally. By minimizing the painfulness of the offense, you can begin to release those feelings of anger and start the healing.

Tolerance and sense of fairness are good tools to help us overlook the faults of others. By forgiving and pardoning them, we open the door that allows us to move forward with our lives.

I used to think others took my forgiveness as a sign of weakness, as a reason to continue offending me. I thought if I did not hold them responsible, they'd think they'd gotten off easy. That made forgiveness very difficult.

But over the years, I have come to learn that forgiveness releases negative feelings and is mentally and spiritually liberating. To freely and unconditionally forgive people who have wronged you is more of a blessing for you than for them.

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Forgiveness is not complex; with practice, it becomes very easy to stop energy-consuming negative thoughts on a useless grudge. Simply let it go, the value of your time and health are far too precious not to move on.

To live life to the fullest, it is important to cultivate an atmosphere of kindness and forgiveness. Look for and appreciate the empathy and compassion of family and friends who love you unconditionally, and let that positive energy become part of who you are.

Be willing to accept an apology gracefully. Be willing to give an apology gracefully when you have offended someone else. That willingness to forgive and empathize can help heal your spirit.

Forgiveness benefits everyone. It lets us see the big picture when we're focused on petty injuries. It gives us dignity.

Let us begin to open our hearts to those who have wronged us and forgive them as we would want them to forgive us. Life is too short for anger and grudges. Grant forgiveness and embrace the peace and joy it can bring you.

Aziz Junejo is host of "Focus on Islam," a weekly cable-television show and a frequent speaker on Islam. Readers may send feedback to faithcolumns@seattletimes.com

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