Welcome to the inaugural post of my forgiveness series.
This first post is dedicated to defining and understanding the nature of forgiveness.
I believe so many of us struggle with forgiveness because we truly don’t understand what it is. So let’s define it.
Forgiveness is letting go.
Let us also define what it is not. Forgiveness is NOT a restoration.
In monetary terms, forgiveness is closing out an account owed to you. It is literally writing off a debt. You are relinquishing any right (real or merely perceived) to compensation or recompense or restoration for the offense.
In terms of a house, forgiveness is clearing the ground of dirt, debris or ash. It is not building a new house.
Note that in each of these examples, forgiveness is preparation for creating something new, not the act of creating it. Also note that the new is in no way required to reflect the old. Christ himself said that new wine goes in new bottles.
The principle holds in terms of light an energy. If thoughts and ideas and concepts can be thought of as coherent energy patterns, then forgiveness is dissolving the coherence of that pattern. A pattern requires maintenance, an input of energy. A grudge is a pattern tied to an offense. We don’t have to imagine we weren’t hurt to forgive. In fact, those who forgive can discuss the past with both calm and factuality. When we cease to feed our offended feeling, it dies, and we are free from the burden of holding it in existence.
When we fail to forgive we continue in a reactionary paradigm. In essence we are controlled by the actions of others, including those who have injured or offended us. Like swatting at hallucinations before us, continuing to act and react based on actions of the past interferes with our ability to be fully present and conscientiously direct our present.
If we want to move forward, we need to move on.
Forgiveness frees our future from the patterns of the past by allowing us to be present. Forgiveness is for the forgiver. The forgiven might never know or care, possibly even feeling that they have done nothing that required forgiveness. One of the great miracles of forgiveness is that it does not have to be reciprocal or accepted by another to be effective. When we forgive, we are free.
Today’s invite: Ponder a past or present situation where you were hurt. Try to consider the situation from different perspectives, including the offender’s. Be honest and thorough in your seeking. Understanding perspectives is one way of contextualizing behavior, which can facilitate forgiveness.