People sometimes wonder why their world is dark and colorless. For many, the answer has to do with their unwillingness to forgive—either themselves or someone else. Hatred, anger, and revenge are double-edged knives that cut those we hate, but they also pierce our own hearts with bitterness. Where there is no forgiveness, there is an absence of love.
You may say, “I could never forgive him (or her) for what they did to me.” Time changes all things, and hopefully, it changes those who we feel have betrayed us, and also our feelings towards them. The key for individuals who want to stay focused on their spiritual journey is to find forgiveness sooner rather than later. Without forgiveness we can stray off the path and lose our way.
People find different ways of making forgiveness work in their lives. One way I’ve found that has helped me is to consider forgiveness a process. Hurts build over time, and for many it takes a while to undo the damage. And, on occasions, this process involves separating ourselves from those who have hurt us.
When employing the process of forgiveness, I have discovered three steps that lead me out of my anger and hurt. The first is tolerance, the second is acceptance, and the third is to embrace. Anyone involved in a situation of betrayal might find all three of these steps impossible, but given time and effort, we can slowly bring ourselves to move in the right direction. These steps provide gentle course corrections on our journey home. They bring us from the impossible to the possible. They provide for us the ability to love our enemies and find peace with everyone.
Another process that produces good results for many people is the daily practice of forgiveness. If someone butts in front of us in line, we practice forgiveness. If we inadvertently butt in front of someone else, and it comes to our attention, we ask for forgiveness. A simple, “I’m sorry,” is usually sufficient. By daily practicing forgiveness in small ways, we find it easier to forgive in ways that we feel are major hurts in our lives. Forgiveness is a cornerstone in the spiritual journey. It keeps us on the path and helps us to welcome all who would choose to walk beside us.
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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.