Wednesday, March 16, 2005

forgiveness

Yesterday I learned about forgiveness.

I thought I was a forgiving person. I think I was wrong.

Yesterday I was talking with my girlfriend, and she told me a story about another friend of hers. This friend, a man, had been married 17 years when his wife left him because she had fallen in love with one of his friends. Pretty tough stuff, I think. But this man, her friend, being a conscious man, later hired his ex-wife and her new husband to work for him in his company. And why not, he said, for he had forgiven his wife as well as the friend she left him for. Pretty big stuff, I think.

I began to ponder this. And as I pondered this I wondered if I would have been able to do that. As I pondered this some more I suddenly realized I don’t know much about forgiving. I know how to “tolerate.” In my history if you abused me or misused me it is likely I tolerated it (and inside denied I’d been misused). But that is not the same as forgiving. Not at all the same as recognizing inappropriate behavior and forgiving it. And forgiveness is pretty important stuff, I think.

I’ve heard people say you cannot forgive others unless and until you know how to forgive yourself. But the converse is also true. I have struggled with being hard on myself, and in order to be able to forgive myself, I needed to be forgiving of others. And yet, I was not forgiving others but rather tolerating their behavior. And in return I could never forgive myself my own missteps and mistakes. Pretty deep stuff, I think.

So as I pondered my girlfriend’s story, I suddenly realized I have not practiced forgiveness. And the moment I recognized this, I was filled with a sense of forgiveness.

But the lesson didn’t end there. Last night I was talking with another dear friend and in his conversation the subject came up of forgiveness (he being unaware of my earlier talk with my girlfriend), something about the need to forgive a second time and a third. He said to me, of course one must forgive again and again, otherwise it wasn’t real the first time. Forgiveness is continuous. Instantly it made sense to me. This is the meaning of forgiveness.

Tolerating inappropriate behavior is neither healthful nor beneficial. Forgiveness is that and so much more. Forgiveness is blessed.

This is the practice of forgiveness.

2 comments:

Howie said...

Seek first to understand and you'll never have to forgive again.

Jonathan Evatt said...

I've enjoyed reading through some of your blog. I found it whilst updating my blog entry on blogwise.
I was drawn immediately to this entry on Forgiveness, for the simple reason that in my experience Forgiveness is one of the master keys to setting myself and the world free.

I've written a few things on forgiveness that might interest you. Have a read and let me know what you feel.
http://feal.org/blog2/archives/2005/02/22/the-law-of-forgiveness/
http://feal.org/blog2/archives/2005/02/21/the-relationship-between-forgiveness-and-healing/

All posts on my blog that contain the word Forgiveness can be found at: http://www.feal.org/blog2/index.php?s=forgiveness&Submit=Go%21

Enjoy.

Keep writing and expressing and dancing. I give thanks...

With love and blessings,


Jonathan Evatt