Sunday, June 29, 2008

is forgiveness an art form?

Forgiveness is a word that is bandied about by many in christian circles. Even many new age and secular philosophies espouse the virtues of forgiveness.

Can people genuinely forgive though?

Is it so that people don't really like to forgive a wrong done to them?

Human beings are flawed with a "me" brush that taints every aspect of their lives. It begins inside our hearts when we neglect to do what is right by others and seek to place ourselves into a superior position.

the majority of 'sin' is competition for a personal supremacy above all else.

when we are asked to forgive...we are being asked to forgo our notions of saving face amongst others. We are being asked to eliminate dishonesty, but first, with ourselves and admit our part in the story. Forgiveness asks us to be aware of our own part in the story and admit our own fault and weakness.

Forgiveness is probably the toughest thing for a human being anywhere. We can do all the surface appearances of forgiving someone, but unless there is a change of our own minds and hearts deep within, where we SEE our role and our position in the drama that has thus far unfolded, we cannot ever hope to have the well-springs of love and compassion fill us to the point where true forgiveness can occur.

Forgiveness is fully accepting our responsibility in life's tapestry. It is about accepting other people as having their own choices and responses to the things we do to them and not entering into a spirit of competition to build our ego above theirs.

Forgiveness is humility without manipulation or subjugation of our rights as people. It is not about allowing others to do wrong to us, but it is about letting them have their own motives and not trying to outdo them for the privilege of having "better than" motives.

We are not being above people when we forgive and if we are... it isn't forgiveness we are demonstrating but superiority out of a malevolent desire to beat them at morality games.

Forgiveness is completely and utterly simple when its done in truth and love. There is no rancour, no supplication, no manipulation, no strident moralism and no dishonesty...either with ones self or with the forgiven one.

Can we forget in our forgiving? No! I think people are too flawed for this kind of generosity. However, real forgiveness moves on from the past and does not focus on it but rebuilds a new starting point for growth where trust and a better kind of relationship can grow. It's certainly not about dredging up the past mistakes in a futile attempt to shame the other into noting how grand we have been to "forgive" them! It can be very hard to forget past wrongs even so.

The essential ingredients of forgiveness are:

1) Honesty. First with ourselves. The question we all must ask "Where have *I* been in the wrong on this?" This is a critical step; for when we are prepared to face our own dishonesty and forgive that which is wrong within ourselves, can we see the truth of another without the distortion of our misaligned emotional mirror.

2) Trust. Demonstrating trust in another person instills more than just confidence, it actually engenders Love. It isn't so much as giving someone a mere second chance, its a complete rubbing out of the mistake and a granting of a clean slate to start it all over one more time. To make mistakes is very human. If we understand this, we can allow trust to develop. If trust is taken away, then there can be no real forgiveness.

3) Love. Unconditional Love may be practically impossible to achieve for people, given our flaws and our very human weakness for self-aggrandizement. But still, aiming for 'Really Close To Unconditional Love', as we forgive one another, is possible when we give up trying to be Better Than and simply opt for Equal To.

Forgiveness is a kind of art form I guess. It's an artistic process though, more than the final painting. Forgiveness is a journey of the heart, mind and soul in tandem with each other. It is thought and heart simultaneously combining in a commitment based on a kind of love that goes beyond mere platitudes and familial understanding. It's the highest expression of the humble and the "meek", whom it is said will someday inherit the earth.

Getting over ourselves is the first hurdle to being able to forgive honestly, truthfully, with dignity, grace and good humour.

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