True Forgiveness arises out of acceptance.
Often in the western world forgiveness is expressed as a form of pseudo-compassionate judgement: “I forgive you for what you did”.
Yet is this true forgiveness?
Most often it’s more of a probationary sentence that actually implies: I am aware of what you did but I am willing to overlook it somewhat as long as you don’t do it again.
Very often it also includes a reduced social standing penalty: Whilst this has obviously damaged our relationship, I am willing to reinstate you at a reduced social level (for an indeterminate amount of time) commensurate with my perceived value of the injustice of which you still stand guilty.
And nearly always it includes a veiled threat of retribution should the offence occur again:
I shall always remember this in case you ever repeat the offense.
Sometimes it goes one step further: Do it again and you’re out for ever!
And occasionally it ends on a brighter note: Now give me a hug and let’s make up (or pretend it never happened).
“I forgive you for what you did”. is rarely forgiveness.
Usually, if the offence is committed again- even twenty years later- the immediate response is “You’ve done it again!” quickly followed by an unspoken judgement that imposes the balance of the original sentence onto the new sentence, to be served sequentially.
The emphasis on the word ‘again’ reminds the offender that nothing has been forgotten – or truly forgiven: they were simply out on life-time probation!
Of course, as long as there is no recurrence of the offense, all remains smooth sailing and, with the passing of time, one is often ultimately either reinstated into higher levels of intimate relationship or the relationship is simply allowed to wither, being of no further value or annoyance.
Such situations are portrayed as proof of the efficacy of western-style forgiveness. Yet all it possibly shows is that life-time probation can be an effective control tool in reducing the incidence of repeat offenses.
It has nothing at all to do with forgiveness.
Forgiveness arises out of acceptance.
When we accept that something is happening or has happened, we can, if we wish, move on. But we will never be able to move on (to forgive) until we can first accept the facts, as they are, rather than as we’d like them to be.
The easiest forgiveness arises out of events from the past.
When we can deeply accept that it is not happening in this moment, we have the option to move on more easily.
When we acknowledge that an event has occurred which is now in the past and that it cannot affect us further without our approval, we choose a space which can lead to radical healing.
And when we choose to utterly deny approval for that past event to affect us further, we can finally (and fully) move on.
We never forget the event – we firmly acknowledge it.
But if we do so, thoroughly accepting that it happened beforehand and not now and that its effects upon us were beforehand and not now then these two supportive understandings offer us the ready option to move into forgiveness.
Forgiving current events seems much harder for us, probably because we dislike accepting the hurt we are experiencing.
Yet, if we can accept that we have never actually been diminished in any way as a consequence of our discomforts (for, in truth, we are limitless Spirit) we have the option to bear our discomforts with greater fortitude.
If we can acknowledge that no-one is faultless; and none of us has hardly ever undertaken any act without some hurt, somehow, somewhere, to someone (be it a fly, an ant, a dust mite or a friend, workmate or relative) we have the option to express compassion more easily.
If we can then deeply accept that ‘only hurt people hurt people’, we choose a space in which we can forgive almost easily.
And when we choose to recognise our being-ness as an aspect of God, ultimately untouchable by any human intervention, then regardless of what happens we remain an aspect of God. This cannot be crushed, killed, mutilated or destroyed. What God creates is eternal. What Man creates is always temporary.
So what is forgiveness?
It is ‘Interior Okay-ness’.
It is the state of being so safe in one’s own ‘immortal being-ness’ that regardless of what happens we know all is okay. If we lose our possessions we’ll be okay. If we lose our home we’ll be okay. If we lose our job or our money or our partner, we’ll be okay. If we lose our health we’ll be okay. Even if we die we’ll be okay.
We may be saddened – especially if we lose loved ones – but we’ll be okay.
Knowing that we are okay, we can, like Jesus, say “I forgive you’.
We can say it because we mean it.
And we mean it because we’re okay.
No matter what happens we’re okay.
An Affirmation: I am okay. No matter what happens I’m okay. Everything happens safely as is meant; so regardless of what happens I know in my heart that I’ll always be Okay.
More in a fortnight!
Blessings and Love,