What my life has taught me about Forgiveness

Johanna Baynard
5 min readOct 16, 2022


I have a long and complicated relationship with forgiveness. At first, I couldn’t do it because I equated forgiveness with allowing the other person to get back in my life and perhaps redo the damage.


August 2, 2010

I realize that I am repeating a lesson that I have learned earlier in my life, but here goes: In my mind forgiveness is attached to an ongoing relationship. And certainly forgiveness is part and parcel of each and every ongoing relationship. It is the way that I see it in the relationship that is mistaken. I thought that if I give forgiveness it is the same as letting the other person back into my vulnerable space to wreak havoc once again. Though I am mistaken, I would keep my definition as it serves me well…

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Dictionary.com states “to cease to feel resentment against”. Of course, I already knew this, years ago as I was reading Emmet Fox’s interpretation of Sermon on the Mount I came across the following passage: It cannot be too often repeated that to entertain feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, spite, and so forth, is certain to damage your health in some way or other, and quite likely to damage it very severely indeed. Remember that the question of the justification or otherwise for such feelings does not arise at all. It has absolutely nothing to do with the results, for the thing is a matter of natural law. A woman said: ‘I have a right to be angry,’ meaning that she had been the victim of very shabby treatment, and that she consequently possessed a kind of license or special permit to hold angry feelings without their natural consequences upon the body following. This, of course, is absurd. There is no one to give such a permit, and if it could be done- if general laws could ever be set aside in special instances — we should have, not a universe, but a chaos. If you press the button, from no matter what motive, good or bad — to save a man’s life or to murder him — the electric bell will ring; because that is the law of electricity. If you drank a deadly poison inadvertently, you would die or at least seriously damage your body, because such is the law. You may have mistakenly supposed it to be a harmless fluid, but that would make no difference because the law takes no account

Johanna Baynard

Dedicated activist for economic equality. Baby Boomer. Wife, mother and blogger: Life According to Johanna, johannayorksr.com and themammablog.com