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

giftForgive 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

clouds-openingIn 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,

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P. Desmond Adams

A formerly frustrated entrepreneur who has learned how to go from dreamer to doer to done. I help you discover your purpose, explore your psyche, maximise your productivity, and grow your platform so you can bring your unique gift to the world and live the life you deserve.

  • Millard J Melnyk

    P Desmond, this is a very, very interesting subject. As I gather, “When I was able to let my ego, self or “flesh” diminish, I allowed Christ within me to become prominent,” seems pivotal. I find that “letting go of self/ego” is a prominent crux in lot of self-help instruction and inspirational material.

    What I rarely… naw, actually what I NEVER find, is explanation about HOW to let ego, self, or “flesh” diminish, what that FEELS like, and what specific first few steps we can take to actually experience it. Typically, THAT information is buried in $25 CDs or $99 workshops or $999 training courses. What happened to “Come, buy without money and without cost!” ??

    When I ask for that kind of information, I regularly get non-answers, “when you experience it, you’ll know” non-answers.

    In my experience, when I’ve experienced something, I can say how I got there, what it was like, and what it feels like to experience it. It’s mind-boggling that there are so many truth claims out there–YOU CAN DO IT!–and such a dearth of information that would indicate that anyone has done it.

    Sorry to sound so skeptical, but we need to get real.

    I’d love to converse/wrestle these matters with you! 🙂

    • Desmond Adams

      Wow, what a great comment. Thank you so much. Yes, that is the crux of it and, as with most pivotal moments, the one we struggle with the most, if we don’t flat-out avoid it.

      What you’re asking for is on par with “what does one fall in love and what does it feel like?” I remember asking that as a pre-teen boy and never being satisfied with the answer. I’d love to know your answer to that same question, what does love feel like and how can one experience that?

      The sad reality is yes, with the esoteric and not-very-easily defined, people become so desperate for an answer, they will shell out their hard-earned money to get an answer, any answer. Of course, there is always someone there to take that money from them with an answer of their own.

      I wrestle with the same issue you mention; why must we charge people money for access to truth? But then I wonder, why is truth any different than anything else? Food, access to water, medicine, art, or just about any other item.

      So, here’s what I’ve come up with, and I admit, it may be motivated by material desire, but I don’t think so; correct me if you disagree.

      Water is freely available to each of us. In fact, it periodically falls from the sky, free for anyone to collect and enjoy. Food is readily available to all of us if we just go out and pick it from the wild growing berry, fruit and vegetable plants. So, why pay for water at your home? Why do we accept the cost of vegetables at the local grocery story of farmers market? I contend it the added value that we’re paying for, not the item itself.

      By added value, I’m referring to the convenience of having that water plumbed right into your home, incredibly convenient. Additionally, we’ll often pay even more for water that’s purported to be cleaner or better tasting. That’s added value. With our food, we’re paying for the effort someone went through to tend to it, cultivate it, harvest and delivery it. That again, is added value and something we should not only be willing to trade “life-energy” (money is a barter system for life-energy) for, but something for which we should spend some time being grateful.

      Yes, truth is all around us and free for the discovery, but when someone takes the time to seek out, cultivate, organize and deliver that truth, we should be willing to trade a bit of our “life energy” for their “life energy” through the exchange of money, or anything else of value.

      I will gladly have friends over for a meal because their friendship is of great value to me, but if I open a restaurant, I’m going to have to charge people for my food preparation or I’m going to be out of business.

      Love to know your thoughts on this. Again, I’ve struggled with this same area. Especially, coming out of the Evangelical Christian world where I see so many “ministries” charging for their teaching and training. I’ve not completely reconciled it all yet.