What is forgiveness? Forgiveness, according to the world is something we give someone on condition that they continue to behave in a way that meets our expectations. With this kind of forgiveness, we hold all the cards. That is, we will continue to uphold our promise of forgiveness as long as the other continues to meet the conditions in which the forgiveness had been given.
However, at anytime the other fails to meet these sometimes unrealistic expectations, we withdraw our forgiveness. In this way, forgiveness is a tool used to control another’s behaviors according to our agenda.
According to the dictionary (Collins English Dictionary, 2003, as cited in Farlex,Inc., 2003-2015), forgiveness is the act of forgiving or the state of being forgiven. It is the willingness to forgive.
Although it defines forgiveness as most of us in the western world have been taught by our parents or other authority figures in our lives as we were growing up, it does not mention that we are meant to forgive all at all times, forever! And, that we are to forgive our family, friends, and foe alike.
The dictionary (Collins Thesaurus of the English Language, 2002, as cited in Farlex, Inc., 2003-2015) even goes as far as to cite a quote from the psychiatrist, Thomas Szasz, from his book, TheSecond Sin: “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” This quote reflects what most of us know about the act of forgiveness.
If this is the world’s view of forgiveness, then what is the non-world’s view? Meaning, this surely isn’t all there is to hang our hats on, right? As the old saying goes, there’s always two sides to the story. If there is only one side of this story, we as the human race are doomed. Thank goodness, then, there is more than one side.
I would like to offer another viewpoint known by many but practiced by very few – true forgiveness. True forgiveness is an art form. It is something that we must practice by committing our whole selves to the effort and staying the course never losing sight of the goal. What is the goal? The masterpiece, or otherwise put, we Master Peace. Who, after all, does not want to be at peace, free of all worry and concern having a life of love and abundance all around us and within? True forgiveness offers this. Notice I said “offers this” as opposed to “can offer this?”
As mentioned above, forgiveness that is given to all at all times, forever, is known as true forgiveness. Forgiveness becomes a gift given without expectations or conditions. It is unconditional. It is an act of pardon and acceptance for what is. It never condemns and it never withdraws. Once given, it is given forever. It is, therefore, eternal. As given it is received. This is the part that explains why “it offers” peace.
When forgiveness is truly given, it is truly received. Once received, it can never be lost. It is a gift we get to keep forever. The act of forgiveness then, becomes the miracle. Forgiveness is the key to success and well being. To experience success and well being is to experience the gift of peace. As forgiveness is offered without conditions it becomes the catalyst for a miracle. Therefore, forgiveness is the miracle. It is something we cannot explain or begin to understand. It just is. When it is true forgiveness, something much bigger than us takes over and applies it where it is most needed. As it is given freely, it miraculously returns tenfold.
Who is forgiveness for? We will discuss this in my next article. But, for today, take a moment and let this “other” concept of forgiveness sink into your psyche. I believe there are no accidents. You are reading this for a reason. Maybe it is time to ask yourself this: “Who, then, is my internal self asking me to forgive?” True forgiveness takes all that we have inside of us to offer. How much of ourselves, then, are we willing to give? Many have tried and continue to fail but when they fall again, for the umpteenth time, they pick themselves back up, dust themselves off, forgive themselves, and try again. Are you willing?
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002.
The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc. (2003-2015).