Forgiveness Part 2

Common misconceptions about forgiveness


So many of us don’t understand this nature of forgiveness that we fail to receive its power based on certain misconceptions.  My hope is to address some of these misconceptions here.


As was discussed in Part 1, forgiveness is NOT a restoration.  It is an erasure.  Forgiveness erases the debt of justice, the expectation of renumeration, the price dictated to a recalcitrant offender.


This erasure frees the forgiver from maintaining the debt.  And once free, the forgiver can move forward, regardless of the offender’s attitude or action.


If we want to move forward, we have to move on.


Misconception 1: They don’t deserve forgiveness


This statement is couched in the erroneous idea that forgiveness is for the offender.  It is not, though it may benefit them.  When we realize forgiveness is for the offended, then this statement of “they don’t deserve” becomes nonsense.  What the offender does or does not deserve is beside the point.  Forgiveness is about freeing the offended.  Any benefits beyond that are a welcome bonus.  


If forgiveness were based on merit, it couldn’t ever happen anyway.  By its very nature, forgiveness is for the undeserving.  If a person deserved it, it wouldn’t be forgiveness.  It would be justice.


Misconception 2:  I will forgive, but I will not forget


This almost sounds right, except that it is usually said in anger, suggesting that forgiveness isn’t happening, at least not yet.  Also, forgiveness does not require forgetting.  It does require letting go, or accepting things as they are.  This often is expressed as something like ‘It happened.” with an accepting attitude and a shrug.  Notice that acceptance of the offense actually validates its existence, rather than erasing it from memory.

And remeber, too, that forgiveness is NOT permission to be hurt again! It is zeroing out the debt, not refilling the account!

In some instances, forgetting an offense could lead to, or return to, an unsafe situation.  That isn’t necessary or acceptable.  Everyone deserves to be safe. ‘I forgive you’ can be right at home in combination with ‘Never again’.  Letting go can often be a cathartic step into a new beginning.


Misconception 3:  There can be no forgiveness for THAT!


Again, this statement hangs on the merit of the offense or the offender.  NOTHING MERITS FORGIVENESS.  If forgiveness were merited, it isn’t truly forgiveness.  Anything merit-based would be more like restitution, which revolves around contractual or judicial justice and the actions of the offender. 

To say something is unforgivable, again, is to misunderstand forgiveness, at least where mere mortals are concerned.  The Lord Jesus Christ reserves for Himself the right to forgive whom he will forgive.  Of us it is required to forgive all.  And we can, because forgiveness ultimately is for us.  It can help others, it can clear the way for new and better things, or even a restoration of something beautiful.  But it isn’t dependent on these things.  These are results or fruits of forgiveness, not prerequisites.

Forgiveness also does not require the forgiver to believe that the offense was justified or acceptable.  Forgiveness is for when an offense is neither justified nor acceptable. 


Misconception 4:  If I have forgiven, then I won’t or can’t seek justice.


Also not true.  Forgiveness starts with personal feelings. It can end there.  It is just to seek restitution for damages done, where possible.  Seeking justice may be quite important to protect others or to avoid setting a dangerous precedent of letting an offender continue destructive patterns.

Now, there is nothing wrong with going further and extending mercy.  More on that in the future.  However, in this post, we are discussing what forgiveness is and is not.  Forgiveness isn’t grace or mercy.  Those are things we give.  Forgivess is letting go of any expectation to receive.


It is worth noting that forgiveness can be extremely difficult when the offense is ongoing.  It is right to protect oneself from abuse.  It is NOT right for an abuser to ask forgiveness so that they may then continue an abusive pattern.  


Promises of change aren’t acceptable collateral in an abusive situation.  The circumstances that allow abuse must be short-circuited and the offender undergo rigorous self-reflection and repatterning of their life.  Even then, things should never return “back the way they were.”  New behavior belongs in a new environment, as a symbol of the promise “Never Again”.
Abuser and abused can move on, in some cases together.  It is my humble recommendation that a determination of a continued relationship should be placed on hold during recovery.  After all, the ground must be cleared before anything new can be built.  And until that ground is clear, building anything new is risky at best.


It should not be surprising that some relationships will not survive abuse, and perhaps should not.  Forgiveness has nothing to do with restoring anything old or building anything new.  It is really just restoring balance so that the next phase, whatever that is, can commence.

Understanding what forgiveness is can allow us to enjoy it, or enjoy the knowledge that we have already achieved it. 

Today’s challenge: Ponder one relationship or situation where you have struggled to forgive.  Examine if any of today’s discussed misconceptions have interfered with your process.  If they have, ponder through writing or meditation how changing your perspective on forgiveness can help you achieve it in this situation.

Forgiveness Part 1

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.

This is Heart Work

This work is Heart Work. It comes from my heart. You see, I’m an Atlas Empath. I hurt when I see the world’s problems, and I want to help the whole world. Mass shootings don’t have to happen. Peace and understanding are worth achieving because they are better. And the system I’m creating has that potential.

Not Real, Ideal

Most will say that my desire for a better world is not realistic. That’s exactly right, but for the exact opposite reason they assume. My vision of a better world is idealistic. The point of a vision is to guide us to somewhere better, to create that which does not yet exist. So my vision isn’t real, yet. I know it can be. We will build it together, understanding the principles of energy movement.

Ultimately, all I’m doing is trying to speak to, vibrate and harmonize with those heart strings containing all the good in the world. People talk about tugging at heart strings. I say we should strum them and make beautiful music together.

When I reach something good inside of you, listen to it. To paraphrase Luke Skywalker, “There is good in you. I can feel it.” There is good in all of us. We don’t have to find it or invent it. We need to let it out and get out of its way. Even if your good feels a bit buried, it isn’t gone. I promise. Just listen for it and when it whispers to do something better, act.

Some Assembly Required

I’m spending all the spare time, money and energy I can on this. I am so driven by this work that I stay up late writing, and wake up early to keep going.  I’m working for good, and I can’t do it alone. This message of hope and help needs allies.

If you feel the desire to help this work, there are several ways to do so:

1. Act on the good you feel
2. Share a link, post or concept with someone else. Refer them here.
3. Seek out other sources of learning that inspire good. Act on those.
4. Make a donation. The best resources, understandably, are not free.
5. Hire me. Writer, Life Coach, Aspiring Visionary. Contact me here.

Problem #1 – Denial

It is part of our nature to filter out wavelengths that are uncomfortable.  When we perceive a problem we can’t or won’t fix, we stop thinking about it.  The problem is our ability to discern “can’t” isn’t perfect, and our skill at choosing “won’t” is growing in popularity.

Before I go another paragraph, I need to acknowledge all the good in this country that is being done.  There are mountains of goodness going on.  Organizations large and small that are lifting burdens.  Amazing!  As a nation, we give billions of dollars in aid to other countries.  And that doesn’t even touch the donations to private organizations who are doing good internationally.  We have lots of good on our side.

Those behaviors aren’t the target of this post, though now that I write it, it might be the target of a future one.   

This post is aimed at us all acknowledging at least one problem, personal or public, that we have ignored.  The reason for this is both simple and critical:

You cannot change a problem you deny exists.

To lift our personal world and the greater world, we must first inventory the problems.  In order to begin, an exhaustive list isn’t necessarily required.  Identifying one problem that has been ignored is all that’s needed to get started making the world better.

So how do we decide which one to work on?  This is a critical question, and I will offer you a tool that has been given to me.  I am not the author of the following matrix:

This matrix is a simple and effective way to prioritize pretty much anything.  We want to focus on the urgent and important square first. In this instance, we can focus on problems, obstacles, anything we’d like to change.  Hopefully, this exercise will crystallize some concepts for you and allow you to begin giving attention to a problem that truly needs it.

I recommend that self-sufficiency needs come first.  It is difficult to lift others until we are standing on our own two feet.  With this suggestion, I offer the following caution:  A premium cable package or large beer budget are not needs.  They are comfort or pleasure.

One of the problems we must face a society is that we, as a whole, are too selfish.  It is simple to see based on how we spend our money.  We make millionaires out of entertainers and athletes while too many in our country go hungry.  And we do this because we want to.  We like it.  We spend that money for us.

We are not spending the money as well as we could.  Pleasure is expensive and fleeting.  Therefore, the value received for the dollar spent is quite low.

A great secret that some already know is :

Happiness is more powerful than pleasure.

Sacrificing to help another person will fill our emotional needs much more effectively than entertainment.  Here is a matrix I authored to help identify some of these concepts.  You’ll notice that Hard-Best can make us the happiest, while pleasure seeking won’t.  Hedonists are always emotionally bankrupt, and tireless volunteers in a worthy cause can hardly stop smiling.

The list above is not exhaustive. You are encouraged to make your own matrix and decide what is best.

If we want to make a difference in the world, I mean lasting change, we can’t be afraid to do hard things.  That’s why hard things don’t change in the first place.  When I say we should do hard things, I don’t mean run marathons, though marathons for charity works for me.  I mean getting outside our comfort zone.

Our comfort zone is a barrier to positive change.  It is a barrier to change at all. 

The comfort zone is only a function of familiarity, not merit.

All of the most admirable people making a difference in our world put personal comfort somewhere below first on their lists.  Filling others’ needs, accomplishing objectives (and writing this post!) all come first.  We can sacrifice for the greater good.  And we must.

One sacrifice I am making: I have committed to building a “community” wherever I am standing.  This means saying hi to the people around me, and initiating positive conversation with the intent of making the other person smile.  It’s small, but important.  I can only change the world if I talk to people.  Hiding on my phone won’t cut it.

By the way, this activity is now moving into my comfort zone. It didn’t happen overnight, but my commitment kept me trying until I realized it isn’t scary at all.  Everyone I have talked to has been nice.  I know that won’t always be the case, but I’m batting a thousand so far.

Writing this blog is a also a sacrifice, but an easy one because I am highly motivated.  

If you haven’t already, get involved with a selfless cause.  Really commit, and find out how much it feeds your soul.  By the way, I count good parenting as a selfless activity, so don’t count yourself out if you are a conscientious parent.

So, hard things include overcoming personal fears in order to help another. 

One of the great gifts we need to get better at giving each other is compassion.  If someone is hurting:

Listen, perform first aid, get them to help or get help for them. 

When we let ourselves feel for another person, compassion becomes easy.  And you will quickly find, if you haven’t already, that you like it.  You will feel better about yourself and your world, and feel less need to drown your feelings in some pleasure-seeking activity.

We can change the world by identifying an unmet need and working to fill it.  Doing so is more than good, it’s an invitation for others to do good.

Today’s invite:  Identify and proactively work on at least one important and urgent problem you now see.  Lead the fight from where you are.  Comment below on how it went.

Employees vs. Disciples

Companies don’t want employees.  They want disciples.  Here’s why.

Employees contract labor/skill/time for money.  Seems reasonable.  However, when employees feel abused, put upon, overworked, underappreciated or otherwise maligned, a renegotiation occurs in this contract.  And the tough part is, the leadership isn’t invited to the table.

The employee who is feeling maligned decides that the price for their services has just gone up.  Do they march into the bosses’ office and demand a raise?  No, because they know they wouldn’t get it.  No, the average employee is more cunning than that, and will simply work less effectively. 

Minimal effort for minimal appreciation.  In the employee’s mind, that’s fair.

So what is the result?  Because an employee feels maligned, they strive for bare adequacy.  Just enough that the boss can’t justify punishment.  And the boss knows the employee can do better.  A well-trained monkey could do better in some cases.  But because the work is adequate, attempting to get more out of the employee becomes an incentive/intimidation/carrot/stick game.  Here’s a thought: stop playing games.

The employee isn’t lazy, in almost all cases.  Their pissed/frustrated/upset.  And they will feel justified in working less effectively. 

Study after study shows that money doesn’t solve this problem.  Giving people raises doesn’t solve the interpersonal dynamic between employee and supervisor.

No company in the world can buy happy employees.  They must be made.  

Disciples, on the other hand, willingly volunteer to sacrifice for the cause.  Why?  Because they believe.  They believe that the cause is worth their best efforts.  And so the disciple’s time, energy, creativity! and willingness to sacrifice are all deployed in furthering the cause.  

Notice that money didn’t enter anywhere into the above scenario?  All the best a person has to give cannot be bought with money.  So what’s the price for these golden nuggets of performance?

I learned a very powerful rule when I served on a management team that has served me well since.  I believe it would effectively combat the problem of the merely adequate employee.

When you want somebody to do something for you, make it as easy as possible for them to do it.

For leaders, this means personal sacrifice to make your employee’s day easier.  This means willingness to listen to ANYTHING the employee has going on. This means noticing when an employee coached themselves to better performance and making a big deal out of that.  This means listening intently when the employee says “I’ve been thinking about ways to improve the process.”  If they miss, no problem.  Give them some guidance and encourage them to try again.  You just don’t know when you are staring a future plant manager in the face.

Smooth out road blocks, be aware of interpersonal tension and strive to resolve it where possible.  

People are people, not cogs in a machine.  They have lives that they are connected to 24/7.  Feelings cannot be turned off.  All the influences on an employee have to be taken into account when asking for the very best.  

A breakup text from a long-time significant other WILL affect the production line.  And if it affects the production line, managers, its in your bailiwick.  You don’t have to solve their problem.  Just validate it.  Listen.  If they ask for advice, do your best to share some. 

Have a heart.  Be a human.

You don’t have to baby them to be kind.  They don’t need to have the day/week/month off or some hefty bonus.  They need a sincere word of kindness from you and a 20 minute break to get cleaned up so they aren’t embarrassed or asked unwanted questions.  And an understanding that they may need a day off because they have to move.

That interaction will buy you weeks and weeks of good faith effort from your employee IF your sincerity holds.  That employee is now a disciple, because they believe you actually care.  And they believe it because you have shown a pattern of caring, especially when it mattered most.

That disciples cannot be bought is GOOD news, not bad.  Disciples would be far too expensive if all the best qualities had to be equitably financed.  Disciples are paid in appreciation, respect, and access to growth opportunities.  Disciples are earned, made and kept by intangibles that can’t go on a balance sheet, yet the bottom line will bear the fruit of the seeds leadership plants.

Today’s invite:  Lead compassionately. 

Seek to understand the situation in full before trying to “fix” it.  Brotherly kindness never goes out of style.

Resonance works both ways

I’m building this site, this effort, this quiet evolution to change the world for the better.  It is based on the ability of resonance to capture potential and then using that potential for good.

Potential is just that and no more.  Energy knows no good or bad, only flow.

The fact is, ALL of our choices are frequencies that echo in the lives of others.  And when bad behaviors are compounded by the choices of the influenced, the unused potential in the system gets co-opted for hurting instead of helping.

My wife experienced this with her last job.  The top dog in the food chain had chosen to forego many recommended practices from HQ, and appeared to be prioritizing his/her perqs over the performance of the workplace.  In two months’ time, morale was at an all-time low, performance was suffering across the board, the attrition rate was through the roof and there were insufficient employees to cover all responsibilities in a timely manner.  

The resonance in that workplace was most detrimental.  For most employees, the choice was to accept the poor performance or seek work elsewhere. 

(I believe that one can lead from any position.  Resonance is powerful enough to move mountains and bring down walls.  But most people don’t know how to exert this influence.  That’s why we’re here. )

Bad behavior by any leader is very difficult because it also damages the credibility of every other leader.  

So, we must be willing to step forward into the light, the spotlight, and lead.  And not only lead, but do the right things.  We cannot and should not stand by and let someone else usurp the responsibility of leadership to satisfy their own needs at the expense of those they serve.  

Remember, every choice we make is an example to others.  Choosing to allow bad behavior is giving approval for it to continue.  Let us choose to expect better of our leaders and ourselves.  And if we can’t get better from our leaders, we need to replace them with lightning speed.  Trust me, the other leaders would hear the thunderclap and think twice about bad behavior.  

It is up to us to hold our leaders accountable.   

TODAY’S INVITE:    Know what leaders are saying and doing.  Decide if you feel those things are good for you and your community. Learn what mechanisms are in place to hold leaders accountable.  Use those mechanisms. 

If those mechanisms are insufficient, learn what it would take to modify them.  Your influence can be the deciding input of force, the influence that pushes ideas of change into action.  

Be a good neighbor

Today’s post is on the power of being a good neighbor.  It starts with my neighbor being a good neighbor.  My  kids love to play at her house because she has several pets, and we have none.  

My neighbor is very generous with her time, house, food and pets, and it allows me the occasional respite.  For instance, it’s allowing me time to write this post hours before I expected.  

This was not planned.  I didn’t impose on my neighbor and fret about whether she could help.  She and our family are simply friends, and things fell together quite naturally.

At the same time, I noticed her son’s bicycle seat was too high.  Turns out, the seat post was too long.  So I offered to shorten it, because I had a metal saw that could handle it.  While I was at it, I put air in the tires and tightened the handlebars.  The whole thing took less than an hour, and her son is ready to roll on a bike that fits better and is a lot safer.  

An opportunity to help, to serve, to make the world better came out of just being a good neighbor.

Our relationship with this same neighbor started on a note of service.  She planned to move in on her own, with no one to help.  And she had a couple of large pieces that really needed two people.  We saw the truck and volunteered to help.  We unloaded the truck fast enough that she saved a whole day’s rental fee.  And because her kitchen was all in boxes, we just had them over for dinner.  We’ve been friends ever since.  

I know not every neighbor story will be so idyllic, but I believe in my heart that every neighbor story can be better.  

When we are kind and generous to others, we tend to gain influence with them.  That influence can help us change each other for the better.

We also lead our neighbors when we are kind to them.  We demonstrate an example of kindness, of self-sacrifice, of genuine care for another human being.  When we validate the needs of others, and choose freely to help, it’s called love.  

And so I ask you, what would today have been like if my family and I had seen our new neighbor struggling with unloading her truck, and said “She really should have gotten help,” and walked inside?  A lot less joyful, that’s what.  We would have missed a valuable friendship.  How tragic when we forego opportunities to lift others.  

When we lift others through selfless service, we lift ourselves.

Today’s invite:

When you notice someone struggling with something, offer sincerely to help.  (It doesn’t have to be directly.  Sometimes helping is going and finding the expert who can directly help.  Sometimes listening is helping.)

While you are helping:

Learn that individual’s name if you don’t already know it. 

Offer your own if they don’t already know it. 

And when you are done helping, wish them a good day.

Comment below on your experiences and feelings from helping someone else! Let us know how you made the world better, or how someone helped you!