"One forgives to the degree that one loves."
-- Francois de La Rochefoucauld
I was thinking about forgiveness and how that word has changed its meaning so much for me in just the last few years. Previously, my thoughts on forgiveness were much like how Wikipedia states it in the beginning of their piece on forgiveness. It begins, "Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution." Yep. That was pretty much how I used to feel too. I love the phrase in there, 'concluding resentment, indignation or anger.'
I used to hear the phrase a lot, 'forgive and forget,' as if that were what people actually did. I heard a lot about the idea of forgiving, but didn't see much forgetting. That reminds me of this wonderful quote: "There's no point in burying the hatchet if you're going to put up a marker on the site." -- Sydney Harris.
Basically, people do something or say something and we take offense or are not pleased with that, then we are supposed to forgive them? Shouldn't they be the ones to set things right? Isn't this how we think sometimes?
If I think about that last comment, I see that it wasn't the other but our own reaction or response that creates the resentment, indignation or anger. In other words, that is our own idea. Then, for some reason, whether we think it is the Christian thing to do or the right thing to do, or someone is prodding us, we say they are forgiven, but in reality we cannot forgive them, since they didn't do anything to forgive, but we did it to ourselves.
I would have had a hard to getting that a few years back, but now it is so clear. We habitually react or respond in blame which is what creates the potential for needing forgiveness to begin with.
Another way to look at forgiveness is to just let go. Pretend this problem is a bag with a strap and we've gathered a few of them, and now we forgive ourselves by taking that burden off ourselves and leaving it on the road and walking away leaving it behind us. In this, we can see that forgiveness is not something we are doing for others, but for ourselves alone. It is our own feeling that we are healing or trying to heal. It was all our own idea.
And, I save the best for last. From what I've learned, forgiveness is a personal release of love and the more unconditional love I will allow and release, the more I am forgiven and the less I see a need for any forgiveness, for there is no more blame, and only loving.
It Is As It Should Be Since We Are All Created From The Same Source.
Spread Some Joy Today--Memory is a two-way event. By releasing those memories that no longer serve us, we are free to experience joy.