Divine Forgiveness

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Divine Forgiveness

If we really want to love
we must learn how to forgive.
-Mother Teresa

What is forgiveness?

At its essence, forgiveness means to give as before, before the breach you experienced with another, with yourself, to once again be connected with love, respect, and appreciation. The how of it—the hard part—is owning your own part and then giving up all claims against the other, a pardon, absolution, a letting go of all blame and resentments. Forgiveness takes away the barriers that you have built and maintained against yourself or between you and the other.

In A Course in Miracles, there is a statement that rocked my world when I read it for the first time. “Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive.” I thought, “What do you mean, it has already been accomplished? I’m hurt, I’m angry, and I know it’s their fault!” Then I stopped and realized in Divinity’s eyes there is no need for forgiveness because you and I are loved unconditionally. There is no holding against, only holding dear.

The heart of forgiveness is the unconditional love of God.

Why make amends, why forgive? Why is it so important? Making amends and forgiving are a letting go of victimhood. Any place you hold on to hurt, resentment, or anger, you hold your position as a victim. Attachment to blame, attachment to hurt, attachment to resentment—all are barriers to your personal freedom. Making amends and forgiving are ways of reclaiming your integrity. Where we have been or done things that are outside our value system, we have places where we blame ourselves, where we have relationships that are out of balance. We are out of balance.

Sometimes the intention of withholding forgiveness is to uphold some sense of self, of power, and yet over time the withholding causes a weakness because of our lack of integrity, of not being the kind of person you know you want to be.

Forgiveness is for the forgiver. When you will not forgive, you are saying, “I want to keep this wound,” and you end up carrying people around inside of yourself like hostages, torturing yourself, holding yourself hostage too, creating a grotesque and profound separation from your own spiritual essence, your own heart.

It is vitally important to remember, forgiving is not a condoning of behavior nor a relinquishing of responsibility; it is an act of grace and accepting our humanness, that we make mistakes and our actions have an impact on ourselves and others.

Take a moment to breathe and come present, and then imagine yourself sitting in a big comfortable chair—a chair in which only truth is spoken or heard—and there before you is a big living screen, and one by one you begin to see the faces of the people you believe you have hurt. As you look into their eyes, you recall those moments of shock, pain, humiliation, disappointment, separation. Seeing the events, the people, noticing what you’ve done and thought and felt since that time, allow all your feelings to simply be there in your heart, noticing if they feel heavy.

Now the faces of the people on the screen begin to change to the people you believe have hurt you. One by one, you look in their eyes, remembering what they did or did not do that caused you pain, what has happened in each relationship since, the feelings you have carried for so long. As you watch, you realize how much energy you have given to each event, and you know it is time to release yourself and them, to let go, remembering the one who has probably hurt you the most is you. It is time to say, “I forgive you,” feeling forgiveness filling your heart.

If your mind interrupts, saying they don’t deserve to be forgiven, remember that forgiveness comes from the inside. No on can make you forgive. You are at choice about how free and loving you want to feel. Do not forgive anyone you are not ready to forgive, and be open to that changing as you open to power of making amends and divine forgiveness.

Reflections:

1. Who do you believe you have hurt? What did you do or not do that caused them harm?

2. Who do you believe has hurt you? What did they do or not do that caused you harm?

3. What has been the impact on your relationships of holding on to past grievances and resentments against others and yourself?

4. Are you ready to be free again, to take ownership of your own life and forgive? If your answer is yes, congratulations. If it is no, what is it going to take?

With love and gratitude,
Kris King

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