This post continues the conversation about forgiveness started in a previous blog.
1. Why forgive? So that you can finally find peace. The person that is at peace with himself does not want to start wars, he doesn't want to kill, to get revenge, to prove himself or herself right. When you are at peace with yourself you accept yourself, you don't try to be perfect (which it impossible and so you always fail at it.) You accept other people. You are able to set proper boundaries, you are much more capable to help others. If you want to do good in the world, If you want to be loving and kind and giving to your family and loved ones, If you want to not be judgmental and to be compassionate instead? Become a forgiving person. Otherwise, regardless of your very best intentions - you will continue to snap, or loose your temper, or be hurtful, or punish by pouting and withdrawing into silences, or whatever else it is you do. (Not sure? - Ask the ones who love you and put up with it. They will tell you, if you promise not to become defensive and not to punish.) Become a forgiving person. Do it for YOURSELF, so you can begin to live free from pain.
And if this is not enough of a motivation, do it for the ones you love. How much more will you be able to give to them! How much better you will be able to love them! Think about it. Imagine a world populated by people who have found peace through forgiveness and through self-forgiveness? What a different world it would be. And it doesn't mean you are now to take the ones you forgave back into your life. Not at all. Not unless you want to. Forgiveness does NOT mean Reconciliation.
You forgive pragmatically. For yourself. It does not take away their responsibility and accountability. But it is no longer your business. Let the proper authorities deal with it, if it applies. As for you, you are setting yourself free from all that happened. Nelson Mandela's words ring so true: "Revenge is the poison you drink hoping that it will kill your enemies." Stop drinking it. It is killing YOU. 2. Who deserves forgiveness, and when do they deserve it? It is not about deserving or not deserving, nor about when do they deserve it. Who deserves forgiveness? YOU do!
If you were hurt or abused, do you now deserve to live with this pain forever???? You are the one who has all the power.
You have the POWER TO FORGIVE!
No one can give it to you and no one can take it away. Discover it! Use it to set yourself free. This is also true if you are the perpetrator of someone else's pain and if the person you need to forgive is yourself. Read answer to question #1. And if you want to make sure you never do anything like that again, the only way to ensure it is to forgive yourself for it. Not easy, I know. But possible. Absolutely possible. The Forgiveness Meditations I have on most of the pages of my website work!
Download them. They are my gift to you. Just like I once received them as a gift. Use them. They do work! 3. Is forgiveness for the victim or for the perpetrator? For the victim! Of course for the victim.
If the perpetrators are changed by your forgiveness of them - good. But their crime is between them and their conscience. Between them and God. Don't wait for an apology to become free. If the apology comes - good, if it doesn't, are you going to give THEM the Power to set you free? What if they don't care? What if they are dead?... Do you see how absurd it can get? 4. Which (if any) conditions must be met before we can forgive? None. Read the answer above. Develop the awareness and the understanding of why you need to do it. That's all. Read this blog a few times, on different days perhaps, and let it in.
You can watch my 6-Part Forgiveness Video on Youtube. You can find it on the Video page of my website.
The understanding you will get may prove to be Life Changing.
5. Is there a crime that is "unforgivable"? In truth - no. But there are things we as society and individually have deemed to be beyond forgiveness. It is a long and painful list: murder, cruelty to children, incest, genocide, rape... I do not need to finish the list. It is endless. And yet - here lies the Paradox of Forgiveness. Even these crimes must be forgiven if we are to stop them from happening and - if we are ever to be free from this pain. But how? you ask. I wrote about it so much...on pp.119 to 126 in The Power of the Possible. Read it, again or for the first time, if you want to understand this deeper.
In short, you forgive because you have the understanding that a similar crime or worse must have been perpetrated upon them, and THAT'S what made them capable of this level of cruelty. This is the part you CAN forgive, even if you can't forgive WHAT they have done. 6. Do only people who have met the conditions deserve forgiveness? See the answers above. 7. How do you forgive yourself when you don't believe you deserve forgiveness? Tell yourself the truth about what you did and let yourself feel what comes. Not your self-hate, but your remorse.
This takes courage and strength. If you let yourself, you will know the difference.
Why should you? Read answer #1. 8. Why is remorse often the hardest thing to feel? It is much easier to judge yourself as unworthy. You've done it most of your life. Everyone has. And - it is too scary to honestly look at yourself. You are too afraid you will discover something ugly.
Amazingly, what you will discover if you stay with your feelings and don't cut them off, is how beautiful and human you actually are. This alone is worth giving it a try! 9. Is forgiveness an act of will? A choice? Or is it Divine Grace? It is all of the above. You have to be willing to end the pain, make the choice to do it, and take the steps to forgive. And with it, the Ultimate Forgiveness can only be received.
It is one of the greatest mysteries and will always remain that. Forgiveness is a gift, the Diving Grace. You must to your part. Then - you will receive it. A sacred gift, it will change your life forever. If this touches you, you can read more on p.124 of The Power of the Possible. 10. Why no change is possible without forgiveness happening first? If you've tried changing your behavior patterns or your life without forgiving what had brought you to being this way in the first place, you have no doubt discovered that simply making a decision to be different was not enough. Forgiveness always precedes all change. Change is the by-product of forgiveness.
Forgive, and your life will change.
Forgive - and you will begin to see everything through different eyes, truer eyes.
Forgive - and reap the bounty.
Don't' forgive, fight for your right "to be right," and nothing will change. Both you and your life will remain the same. You are a being with free will. As am I, and as is everyone else on this planet. To forgive or not to forgive? The choice is always ours. Choose freedom!