Let's talk about forgiveness.
This is something Jesus says about it.
Matthew 18: 21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft should my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.
Wow! 70 x 7! 490 times!! That seems to be a Lot to ask of us weak sinning humans. I think I made it to 50 with my sister and it was over. MUCH less with some others in my life who were written off for various reasons. And I've been told that I'm a very forgiving person. Wow. What does That say about me? And what does it mean to forgive? What did Jesus mean about forgiveness?
What does it mean to forgive?
This is from my favorite bible author.
Luke 6:37 Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
It seems to be saying that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us, and continues to forgive us. That's great, but there is deeper meaning in it. Anyone who's held a grudge and grown in life knows that anger, judgement and condemnation of others does nothing to them in comparison to what is does to the one holding on to those feelings. We've come a long way in understanding the affects of our thoughts and feelings on our own body, being and spirit. How does that relate spiritually? Well, for starters, it's hard to be a loving spirit when we feel so much anger and resentment. Love and hate can't fill the same space. It's important to love ourselves. But how is that possible while filling ourselves up with hateful thoughts and emotions.... I think you get the point there.
Love and limits.
How to forgive.
It's one thing to forgive, but to continue being the recipient of hurtful words and actions is another. By nature, we want to defend and retaliate when someone lashes out against us in Any manner. Of course! It's survival of the fittest. Our natural instinct is to survive, whether we are defending our life, ego, spirit etc. Whatever someone seems to be attacking. There are tons of therapists out there, self help books, guru's of peace etc. teaching about love and limits. It's the separation of emotion that is most difficult. It's OK to forgive someone who has done horrible things to you. Really. It is OK! We seem to think that forgiving that person means that we give them permission to continue hurting us. It most certainly does NOT! We have to learn to say to someone, "I still love you, but not your behavior. I will not engage in your behavior anymore, or allow you to continue hurting me with it, but I will support you when you make positive decision and perform positive acts. I will also love you no matter what."
Here's what I've done often, with a particular person in my life who continually rages. When the conflict arises, I basically use an invisible wall between us. On my side of the wall, I would feel love flowing. I then imagine their rage bouncing off the wall in the middle and returning to them. Then in my calm, I would make a good choice. That good choice came much easier, when I was in a state of calm. I've used this many times and it was amazing just WATCHING their anger rage and not listening to the hurtful words. After all, they don't define me. It took time. At first the rage escalated because they weren't getting the reaction they wanted from me. But over time, it would stop. Why? Well who wants to fight with someone who won't engage and is unaffected. That is the main goal in all these circumstances. And each time it happened, I would learn to let it go completely. I also knew another battle would come and I wanted to be grounded so that I could sustain it with love. I couldn't do that if I had the mental list going on of past grievances. You Have to let them go for your own health!
So I challenge you all to let go of your anger and pain toward the people in your life whom you hold accountable. Accountability starts with yourself.
Let's start here:
1) Make a list of those who continue to hurt you and those whom you still dislike, or hate.
2) Make another list of the good things about them, even if it's just one thing.
3) Work on connecting with the love inside of you at all times. Then work on stabilizing it during conflict.
4) Practice letting it go.