What is Forgiveness?
I recently posted the following on my Facebook page:
This is a very challenging statement for every person I’ve ever known, including myself, because we realize, we will never have peace until we learn to forgive those who have harmed us. That’s an incredibly high cost for peace.
My wife then asked, “yeah, but what do you consider forgiveness? Just letting something go, and does this mean, you have to restore a relationship back to it’s original place?” I want to take this in several different sections, in several different posts on here, because each deserves a full answer.
What is forgiveness?
Let’s start with the word “forgiveness” itself and then move out from there to see how this applies in our lives. This is such a vital part of Mental Mastery that I will be coming back to it often. So much of what I teach in the Mental Mastery Method can be hindered by a lack of forgiveness within, in fact, I’d say, any unforgivingness (yes, that’s the actual word, “unFORGIVINGness”) is going to cause some degree of restriction to our Mental Mastery. It doesn’t have to stop you completely, so don’t be afraid to move forward, but always be working on forgiveness.
The word ‘forgive’ has it’s origin in Old English and is obviously a combination the words ‘for’ and ‘give’. To ‘give’ is the act of handing over something or transferring ownership of an item from you to another person. ‘For’ means to do it FULLY. That’s the powerful part of the word. One hundred percent giving over of something from you to another. But, let’s look a little deeper.
To Forgive is to Pardon
Forgive has it’s closest ties to the Dutch word vergeben which is a translation of the Latin word perdonare, meaning to pardon or release from indebtedness. This really gets at the root of what it means to forgive or pardon someone.
In the financial world, to forgive someone their debts means to completely give whatever they owe you, over to them. Whatever you felt was ultimately yours, usually money, is simply given to them. It goes from a loan to a gift.
From Finances to Offenses
It’s probably much easier now to see where this thinking goes when it comes to personal forgiveness. When you’re unable to forgive someone of an offense it’s almost always because you’re still holding onto something you believe to be yours. Most of the time this is an expectation you’ve placed on their behavior which is based on standards you have for yourself.
Our Various Levels of Capacity
Let’s look back at the financial equivalent again to best illustrate what’s happening. If someone loans to you a large sum of money, say $100,000, you may be the type of person who will be driven to pay that back as quickly as possible, offering $2,000 per month. You’re going to sacrifice in other areas in order to make as large a payment as possible. This is the standard you then set up for others. Now, when you’re the one who loans the $100,000 you’re expectation (what they owe you) has been set and every time they pay less than $2,000 you feel slighted.
Forgiveness means you’re going to release them from the personal standard you’ve set for them. You’re not lowering your standards for yourself, you’re simply not going to place that burden upon them. This is all about diminishing our ego and allowing others to be individuals.
Less of You – More of Christ Within You
In the Christian domain, which I’ve come from, this is referred to as “dying to ourselves so that Christ may live.” Keep in mind, I’m referring to the spirit of Christ that is within every one of us, regardless of religious beliefs (the perfection of God within). In order to really grab ahold of this, I had to realize a 2,000 year old spiritual figure didn’t hold an exclusive on this status and I have the same spirit of Christ or Christ-Consciousness within me. I am Desmond the Christ and you are ______ the Christ.
When I was able to let my ego, self or “flesh” diminish, I allowed Christ within me to become prominent. The perfection of God is able to show ultimate love to others and ultimate love doesn’t keep a record of what they owe me. I know this is very difficult to wrap your head around when someone has harmed you in a big way. I deal with this struggle myself on some issues, but the important thing is to recognize it and practice allowing it to happen. Do not burden yourself, but simply allow it so you may have peace.
I’m sure, at some point in the next day or two, you will be given an opportunity to practice this allowing. Do not be anxious about it, but simply allow as best you can, stretching to pull back your own ego or flesh and allow the spirit of Christ (God’s perfection) to show through more prominently.
This is Not a License for Harm
This is vital so pay close attention. Forgiveness has to do with past debt, but it doesn’t mean you have to loan them anything again. In other words, if someone has harmed or offended you, you can forgive them of the previous offense without making yourself vulnerable to additional pains.
Look at it in financial terms again; if you’re a banker and you forgive a persons previous debt, you do not have to loan them additional monies, you’re simply saying they don’t owe you the earlier amount.
I hope this brings you greater peace in your soul,