new age spirituality

Forgive For Good

Forgiveness is the process of letting go something bad that's been done to you.

One of the first issues with forgiveness is figuring out what's bad or wrong in the first place. We all carry some kind of moral code in our heads by which we live, and also which we judge others by. The problem is that no two people are likely to have identical moral codes. Right and wrong are certainly not as clear-cut as we may believe or certain others would like us to think.

A simplistic and incomplete attempt to define right and wrong might be that the former tends to enhance Spiritual progress while the latter retards it. But even this is problematic as many acts may have both progressive and deleterious aspects to them. For example no sane person could support war, but even from this overwhelmingly negative circumstance comes great acts of self-sacrifice, courage, and togetherness.

Forgiveness and Faith

Forgiveness is a major part of the Christian faith as well as being significant in other religions. The Lord's Prayer beseeches God to forgive our trespasses as we forgive those of others.

But there is apparent ambiguity in the Christian approach to forgiveness.

The Old Testament states: "thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

But Jesus appears to contradict this in saying: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well."

However, He goes on to say of the Old Testament: "Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished".

There is an oft-quoted Christian approach of hating the sin but loving the sinner. Here are just two almost super-human examples of this in practice:

  • The mother of teenager Anthony Walker, murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in Liverpool England, said: “Do I forgive them? At the point of death Jesus said, ‘I forgive them because they do not know what they do’. I have got to forgive them. I still forgive them.”
  • The Amish community in America demonstrated their forgiveness for the man who killed five of their children in a school shooting before killing himself by attending the killer's funeral and helping to set up a fund for the his family at a local bank.

But for most of us such forgiveness is extremely hard to live up to. It is human nature to seek retribution. If a loved one were harmed by another, how many in their right mind would not seek to harm the offender?

So isn't it possible that "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," isn't vengeful and vindictive but rather a call for proportionality in response when one considers they have been wronged? To see the consequence of disproportional responses just look at any war in the history of man.

Choosing Forgiveness

As we draw closer to that unattainable Spiritual perfection, so we are more able to fulfill the ideal of unconditional forgiveness. What's done is done, was done for a reason, has passed and can't be changed, so must be accepted.

We may better understand forgiveness by recognizing the infinitesimal significance of physical incarnation. The only thing that truly counts is the lessons we learn.

Why do some people behave "badly"? Are they immature souls on a path of learning? Or actors playing a role for some purpose? Or a bit of both? All are born with a predefined (by ourselves) plan, but we also have free will, which means our plan may not be followed.

Ultimately it doesn't matter. Once a deed is done we must live with it. It is not wrong to seek “justice”, ie rightful recompense, but don't let vengeance become an obsession to the cost of all else. If you feel you've been wronged seek amends in whatever way you can, but once you've done that let go and move on.

Forgiveness, the Healer

To continue holding a grudge is self-destructive. At best it prevents you applying your energies fully to areas in which they are most likely to bear fruit. At worst it can land you in deep trouble, if for example you go out and kill the person you perceive as having wronged you.

To forgive, or let go, is to free yourself from the chains of the past so you can move into the future without baggage.

new age spirituality © abracad 2006