Mahatma Gandhi said this about forgiveness: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Forgiveness is viewed by some as weakness, but nothing could be more mistaken. It takes great courage and strength to admit our mistakes and seek forgiveness. Steps Seven, Eight, and Nine all address the need to forgive and to be forgiven. This is not only true for the Religious Recovery program, but many other twelve-step programs suggest the need to be willing to grant and receive forgiveness.
We often think of great atrocities that need our forgiveness, and we consider these events to be the most difficult to forgive, but little grievances that accumulate over time can build a mountain of unforgiven events that appear so overwhelming that we don’t know where to begin. It doesn’t have to be that way. Daily forgiveness of ourselves and of others can stop the grievances from mounting. But, once the mountain has formed, we can tear it down, one grievance at a time, or with one felled swoop of total and complete amnesty — one act of pardon.
Once the pardon has been granted, we only need to take care of the small bits of maintenance that arises from time to time. Because we can’t wipe our memories clean and delete the events from our storage system, we will, from time to time, stumble upon something that triggers those memories. Usually, just a simple reminder that we dealt with those memories and surrendered them in forgiveness is all that is needed.
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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.