STEP SEVEN CONTINUED: Choose to forgive those who hurt us in the name of religion.
Instruction: Recognize the strength of forgiveness.
Some people believe that forgiveness is weakness. They seem to equate forgiveness with cowardice. Only the brave are courageous enough to forgive. Only the strong can face their darkest days, give grace to the villains in their lives, and release the need for hatred, anger, and thoughts of revenge. This courage is developed with every minor decision we make to look beyond the actions of others to the hurts in their souls, to comprehend that the worst things we see in others could also be possible in our own lives, to be grateful that we have the ability to make our world better, not by wars but by forgiving, releasing, and loving. We don’t see ourselves as better than, but as equal to, and in the position of being grace-filled people, because that is what we have chosen for our lives.
Forgiveness is not weak but strong, not limited but unlimited, not helpless but all powerful. Forgiveness is the road less taken, but the road that yields the best and quickest results in developing peace within ourselves and within the world. We no longer have to plot revenge or waste time feeling hurt, spiteful, or crushed. Forgiveness heals the forgiver and allows for those who we believe offended us to see the love of the Creator in action. Forgiveness levels the playing field and brings life back around to unity and oneness, seeing within each individual the face of The Divine who loves us unconditionally and never withholds forgiveness to those who seek it.
The strength of forgiveness also lies in its ability to say, “Yes, you are forgiven, but I will not allow you to do that to me again. I respect myself too much, and I will not be subjected to hurts or abuses you might want to pass on to me.” In the strength that forgiveness gives, there is gentleness and defenselessness. We are certain of who we are, and part of who we are and who we choose to be is someone free from the roller coaster ride of the abuse-forgiveness-repeat pattern. When we decide to get off that roller coaster, we can choose to leave with no resentment, hidden agendas, or ill will towards those who want to keep us on the ride.
Today’s assignment is to get off the abuse-forgive-repeat train. If someone abuses us and we choose to forgive them, that doesn’t mean we are giving them permission to continue the abuse. We can take appropriate steps to prevent the abuse from happening again—to us or to someone we love.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.