When we’re mad or upset with someone, the last thing we admittedly want to think about is forgiving them. We’re so angry that we feel like if we forgive them, then its an opportunity for them to hurt us again. If we forgive them, it means that what they did is OK.
Forgiveness is indeed a practice. I understand that forgiveness is not something that is easy to learn, but you can learn to forgive others. As I have said in previous post, we will always choose our emotions. If you choose to be offended by something someone said or did to you, that is a choice that you are making. When you have made that choice to feel offended, or hurt by someone, you must understand that the act of forgiveness is not for the person who hurt you, IT IS FOR YOU! When I allow someone to get me upset, it really bothers me. What bothers me the most is that I have let someone get me to that point where I am upset. How do I get over it? Well, I forgive myself by forgiving that person. When I forgive that person, I am accepting peace into my life, my spirit, my soul. The last thing that I want to do is to allow someone to have control over the way that I think and behave. Forgiveness is not reconciliation either. Choosing if you want to continue to have someone in your life is a different story, but before reconciliation can occur, you must first forgive.
When you choose to forgive, you are not choosing to forget what happened, but your choosing to forgive what happened. It’s nearly impossible to forget something that happened to you that hurt you or offended you. It would be so wrong for me to say that I can forgive and also forget, but that’s not what happens when I choose to forgive. When I forgive, I am more concerned with being able to move on in a peaceful way, and to also spread love in the universe. I am not concerned about being revengeful,, or making sure that the other person feels the pain that I am/was in. That is childish and is shows lack of maturity. As adults, we are so much better than that. Buddhism teaches that when we hurt other, we hurt ourselves. When other people hurt us, they hurt themselves. When we we’re good to other, when we love one another, we love ourselves. Notice the theme here? Everything always comes back to us, ourselves.
Choosing to continue to be upset about something is a conscious decision that takes sooooo much energy to uphold. I can think about the times in the past when I have been mad at someone and they’re around me so I would throw on a mean face and walk around like I am ready to fight! Looking back at it now, I’m sure I looked like a fool with an ugly look on my pretty face. Having that “look” on my face took a lot of energy from me and it did nothing to help how I felt on the inside, nor did it do anything to help the situation. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it has a profound impact on our future.
Of course there are occasions when tragic events and offenses have been made against us and arguably there is no option in choosing to feel hurt. In cases of extreme violence such as rape, or murder of a loved one, or other sexual crimes, forgiveness may take a long time to happen, if it happens at all. However, there is no better argument for forgiveness than these types of cases that have the potential to control and ruin our lives. Holding on to these emotional feelings and not dealing with them in an effective way can really hurt our spirit. Forgiveness allows you to move on with your life. Forgiveness is truly a self transformation. Its our way of letting go of the pain, the hurt, the resentment, the vengeful nature, the hate that we’re so sadly holding on to. Forgiveness is an extension of love, God’s love.
I’ll end with this last thought. In a previous post, I talked about Jeff the Sicilian, the masseuse I had during my birthday. He bought up an idea that I’m not sure most of us have ever thought about. He thought about what would it be like if the Lucifer, or the Devil came to God and asked for forgiveness for all that he had done. What do you think God would do? Do you think he would him away? This would be the ultimate Prodigal Son story. While I can not say that I am a Bible connoisseur, I think I can rest safely knowing that even God would forgive the Devil. I’m just saying.
Forgiveness is Peace. Forgiveness is Freedom.