What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves so that we can leave the past in the past, and so that our spiritual and emotional wounds can heal. Like any of the thoughts, attitudes and emotions, forgiveness is a behavioural pattern that becomes stronger with use. We can choose whether to develop a habit of forgiveness or a habit of holding onto resentment, but it’s never too late to change resentment into forgiveness! Even if no one ever taught us how to forgive or how important it is to forgive, that doesn’t mean we can`t learn to build it into our lives.
Forgiveness means not resenting those who have angered us or failed us in some way. We can do this by communicating (whether in person or even just on paper), our feelings of anger or disappointment to the concerned individual(s). This validates our emotions, thereby enabling us to release the person and the experience. Although it is often easier to forgive when we understand fully why something has happened, understanding is not necessarily required. We can forgive others without their even knowing that they hurt us.
When I first started working with the Universe, the idea of forgiving anyone was almost unknown to me. So I started at the very beginning by forgiving my birth parents for giving me up for adoption, and just kept going all the way up through the years of my life. Let’s just say I had A LOT of forgiving to do, so I got a lot of practice. For me now, I know I’ve fully forgiven someone when I can go over the experience in my mind – see their face, remember the words, everything – and not feel any anger or hatred. Once full understanding has been gained about an experience, it’s actually easy to let go! Forgiveness is like a muscle – the more we use it, the stronger it gets, until it actually becomes an unconscious habit.
What forgiveness is not…
Forgiveness is not a bargaining chip, for example, “I’ll forgive you if…”
Forgiving others does not mean that we have to allow their abusive or negative behaviour.
Forgiving others does not mean that we can trust them to change their behaviour. In fact, sometimes it is necessary to completely limit contact with those who have harmed us. Doing so does not mean we haven’t forgiven them – it might just mean that we’re finally honouring, respecting, or protecting ourselves.
Forgive the dead?
Sometimes it is necessary to forgive someone who is no longer alive. Just because they died does not mean that God expects or requires us to automatically forgive them or that we don`t need to consciously forgive them. It’s not speaking ill of the dead to acknowledge that they hurt us. Not doing so denies our true feelings and can leave us feeling guilty and bad for holding onto the harm that was done. Magically elevating someone to sainthood upon their passing, when we all know that they were anything but saintly, creates needless suffering and anguish for us.
Just as important as forgiving others, is the need to forgive ourselves. Since self-hatred is one of the most common spiritual root causes of addictions and negative life patterns, doesn’t it make sense that if we can find some way to forgive ourselves that we’ll finally find peace?
We cannot live our lives wishing and hoping that someone is going to forgive us for something we’ve done or not done – it’s up to us to forgive us. It’s up to us to be the best people that we can be, while knowing that we’re all capable of hurting others, even if it’s unintentional.
Forgiveness from God?
Since the Universal Intelligence sees all human experience as education, there can be no such thing as sin, and since there is no such thing as sin, there is no need to be forgiven. The Universal Intelligence cannot and will not ever judge, criticize or condemn us.
Visit Section 9 of my website and do the forgiveness exercises: http://www.ourspiritualnutrition.com/is09.htm#Forgiveness