We feel lighter, unburdened and carefree. Carrying around a lot of resentment and guilt is like carrying a bag of coal on your back.
All the time we are projecting onto people and onto the world. And what are we projecting? Usually our own displaced hurts and misunderstandings of the world. It is these projections then that we see and that we judge. If we can just see things a little more from the other’s perspective - like we were standing in their shoes - then things might look a little different.
Forgiveness is never about seeing a wrong, and then forgiving it. That’s being magnanimous. The intention behind this may be good but it still acknowledges the wrong. Forgiveness is seeing that there never was a wrong in the first place. It’s looking past the obvious and seeing the authentic person behind the seeming imperfect actions.
When you forgive you grow as a person. Let’s face it, it’s easy to hold a grudge and keep the moral high ground. This allows us to be right, even though “being right” is only a perspective we hold at any given time. The other person equally thinks they’re right too. Forgiveness raises you above all that.
You heal the situation that you judged in the first place to be amiss. You heal the person you forgive, and most especially you heal yourself.
“Forgiveness recognises that our brother is guiltless and sets him free”. (ACIM)
Forgiveness releases us from the prison of ourselves, the narrow walls of prejudice we erect around us, from the shrivelled-up person we become if we insist on holding on to bitterness. Holding a grudge is like holding a hot coal in your hand and waiting for it to burn the person you have the grudge against.
We become more open and thus allow greater freedom and opportunities to come our way. When we hold a grudge we pull in our spirit and tighten up. We become guarded and cynical. Thus when the universe tries to give us some blessing we are not able to receive it. Try giving a 50 dollar note to someone whose hands are clenched? It’s impossible. Not being willing to forgive is one of the main reasons why people often don’t receive the things they want.
You always get back what you put out. You get from the world what you gave to it. If you give evil or slander this you will reap. But if you choose to give love and kindness then assuredly that is what you will receive.
When we try to justify ourselves we dig in. We entrench those perspectives. Therefore all the grudges, resentments, hatreds and so on, are merely the way you see a particular person or situation. And often it’s connected to a belief, or something in your own psyche.
Take your friend Don, you claim you hate him because he robbed you. Let’s say for argument’s sake he did. Now by adding hatred to the original wrongdoing who’s the one suffering? Don? No! You are. Because you’re still holding on to the hurt, the resentment, the pain. If he’s such a disreputable character he’s probably forgotten all about you, but you're still suffering. He's robbed you of your wealth, you've robbed yourself of your happiness.
Sometimes ‘caring’ is a way of holding on when it is inappropriate.
Kindness releases all.
Not forgiving can be misplaced love. Often it’s because we want people to be like us, to hold the same views. And when they don’t we feel threatened. Our dislike of them is a perverted way of wanting to love them. Realise no one is your enemy. Allow everyone to be themselves, and even when you don’t understand them – and there’s no reason you should – just love them anyway.
And don’t forget the most important person you need to forgive is you!
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