What it means to forgive

“…holding no prisoner to guilt, we become free.”
- The Course In Miracles

Someone once asked me, “Have you forgiven so and so for such and such?”
And I did the puppy head tilt, “Huh?”
This question throws me for a loop.
“Well…I don’t really feel like it’s my place to forgive them,” I replied.

It’s not that I condone bad behavior, it’s not that my heart doesn’t get pinched, and it’s not that I forget – ’cause I’m not the forgettin’ type, that’s for sure. But there’s something about “forgiveness” that seems, okay, forgive me, but…arrogant.

“I forgive you.” It rings of, “I bequeath to you…I permit you…I hereby knight thee…” It feels lording. A friend asked for my forgiveness once and I felt embarrassed, and intensely reluctant to add to her shame. I started laughing. “As if,” I said. “Duh, like, whatever, it’s done, over, let’s get on with things.”

I’m a Very Big Believer in accountability. I think the Truth and Reconciliation movement is a monumental leap in humanity’s evolution. The heart can transform the ghastly into the educational, and betrayal into blessings galore. Forgiveness is a lever to our divinity. BUT…

Unexamined forgiveness is a distortion, just like “I love you,” can mean, “you fill my holes,” or, “you meet my requirements therefore I adore you.

Distorted forgiveness makes you right, which usually makes the other person wrong – the ego loves that equation. Even though your eyes are smiling while you’re saying “I forgive you,” there might be a little voice inside saying “Ha! gotchya.”

True forgiveness is…well I’m not entirely sure what true forgiveness is. I’ll let you know when I ascend to those heights of all knowingness, {in which case I’d be levitating and too blissed out to write little articles about self-realization…} But I am wondering if enlightenment relies on the forgiveness formula. As The Course in Miracles puts it, “Forgiveness is unknown in Heaven, where the need for it would be inconceivable.”

Duh. My sentiments exactly.

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