Josh Pastner on Forgiveness
Rosh HashanahCommunity

Josh Pastner on Forgiveness

Josh Pastner is head men’s basketball coach at Georgia Tech.

Josh Pastner
Josh Pastner

Rosh Hashanah is considered one of the most important holidays in the Jewish faith by many. On this day we are told to ask for forgiveness, which is a wonderful undertaking. But why wait? We make mistakes often throughout each day. The Webster dictionary defines forgiveness as “to cease to feel resentment.” All words have meaning. What is the deeper meaning of forgiveness?

Maybe we are impatient in a line at a store and mumble under our breath, “What’s wrong with this person or that person?” due to the fact we are in a hurry. Right there is an opportunity to ask for forgiveness within for being impatient and erase that mistake – complaining about others.

Maybe we hold a door open for someone and they walk by without saying “thank you.” And, once again we say under our breath, “What’s wrong with them?” condemning another within for doing something we are supposed to do – being kind without the need of a reward or approval. Again, another opportunity to be forgiving of one’s own intolerance and erase the mistake of resenting another. Or we don’t like how another is driving and fume within ourselves, resenting that person and walking into the office holding on to that anger.

Or maybe our loving spouse expresses something and we take it personally as opposed to being understanding and possibly isolate, leading to resenting the one we love. And maybe a co-worker says something at the office we don’t like, and instead of being forgiving, carry that home with us and that resentment comes out sideways to our family by being irritable and short-tempered.

These examples might seem small and meaningless. Yet the smallest seed planted grows to be the largest sequoia tree on earth. A resentment that attaches to our thoughts without forgiveness can grow from such a small issue in life to something so large in our minds that it leads to anger and often rage – two enemies of the human mind that disturb our inner being. It is said, ultimately the person holding the resentment is the one who suffers most.

Thus, with the arrival of Rosh Hashanah, what a great time to take an inventory of all of our resentments. Take a deep inner look and ask for forgiveness for thinking in negative terms of others. God forgives; will we? There is an old spiritual saying, “We can only keep that which we give away.” To give forgiveness to others allows us to keep our inner peace and be forgiving of ourselves when making a mistake in our daily lives.

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