Forgiveness Is All
Forgiveness can't be underrated.
It's at the heart of the beginning of every journey to self-discovery.
Without the ability to forgive, we never fully tap into inner peace, spiritual growth, and abundant life.
Forgiveness is the lynchpin that holds all of those aspects of self-discovery together and us along with them. It is the single most important aspect of a life of following Jesus and one of the most difficult to embrace.
We all know how difficult it is to forgive those who wronged us.
But Jesus taught his disciples that forgiveness was so important they should stop whatever they did regarding their religious observances to make things right with anyone they resented.
Most of us raise a question at this point: "But what if the person I'm trying to forgive is unrepentant?" Or put another way, "What if the person I'm trying to forgive has no interest in being forgiven?"
We might also wonder about forgiving someone with whom we know that being around them in any capacity would be dangerous to our well-being, mental health, etc.
The good news is that those people don't have to be in the room when we let go of our hurt and forgive them.
Also, our forgiveness may be as simple as finally letting go of the bitterness and anguish we have held on to for a long time, releasing the person to their future and God, and learning how to live.
I read a wonderful quote from Melody Beattie the other day that speaks to this:
The energy of healing begins with us. Our willingness to make amends may or may not benefit the other person; he or she may or may not be willing to put matters to rest. But we become healed. We become capable of love.
There's so much in that quote that resonates with me. I have felt that healing wash over me when I practiced forgiveness and let go of the bitterness keeping me from finding the peace I longed for in my soul.
It didn't happen easily, mind you. It took a very long time for me to feel that feeling.
The funny thing about that feeling is that I can't remember thinking, "I forgive." There was no dramatic statement or declaration. One day, I realized that I was no longer carrying the hurt and anger around with me.
That realization made me feel the energy of healing, relief, and peace that had eluded me.
You see, it had been there all along. The seeds of it had been planted long before I could know it. I had carried all the woundedness around like an old friend, unable to let it go until I was ready.
The work I had been doing wasn't the work of forgiveness; it was the work of discovering my connection to God and others. It was the work of tending my soul and learning to live more fully present in the moment.
I did this imperfectly, but the intentions were there, and that's all that those seeds of forgiveness needed to grow.
Rather than beating our heads against a wall because we struggle to find the grace to forgive those who've wronged us, we should try simply working toward a more congruent way of living.
Instead of letting ourselves get consumed by our inability to let go of bitterness, we ought to seek harmony with the world and others if it is possible.
Even when our offer of harmony isn't accepted, or the person who has hurt us has no idea we're offering it, we will know we did all that we could, which also brings harmony.
May this be so for all of us. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Chrit be with us all, now and forever. Amen.