I fast from grudges. I feast on forgiveness.
Today’s Lenten lesson is “forgiveness.” Let us affirm: “I freely forgive others and myself.”
Here it comes again!
The title above is “Here it comes again!” because forgiveness is a regular topic for those along “the path.” Well let’s remember that it really is NOT “the path” because that metaphor implies some kind of journey that spans years on which you experience incremental moments of growth. I caution you not to think of your life as “the path” to nirvana, to understanding, to joy, to redemption….. to whatever.
Forgiveness exists in the timeless realm of miracles, NOT in the human realm of time. Forgiveness is instantaneous; it is not like a broken leg that takes weeks to heal. It can happen instantly, in that moment in which YOU let go.
Let’s do a brief review of what forgiveness really means:
Just let it go!
Forgiveness means removing judgement from your life…… or at least making an effort to stop judging everyone, everything, and every incident. Go back and read Lesson #2: “acceptance.” How much of your conscious thought is judgements about everything and everyone in your life? Begin by choosing just one thing and simply let it go. Driving might be a good place to start this exercise. While in the car, focus on a great affirmation like “I am a radiant expression of God’s love,” and then just let all the other drivers go on their way. If you are stuck in a traffic jam, breathe deeply and say, “The presence of the Lord is with me and I am at peace.” over and over again, as you breathe deeply. You cannot move the cars out of the way, so just let it go! Think about that! Be IN THE MOMENT instead of focusing on where you are supposed to be. A great spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle says:
You deserve it!
You forgive not because others deserve it, but because YOU deserve it. You are not approving of anyone’s action by forgiving the action. You are letting go of your bondage to that act.
Stop retelling stories of injustice!
Reverend Joyce Flowers says that “forgiveness means never having to retell the story.” How often do you repeat some story of injustice or wrongdoing? “Do you know what happened to me the other day?” Think about that and promise to yourself that you will stop retelling the story. Perhaps even involve your family and friends to help you “police your own dialogue” and say to you, “I’ve already heard about that offense. Didn’t you say you were not going to keep repeating the same story?”
Forgive YOURSELF. This is probably the most difficult one, but if you do seek a life of joy and peace, you need to let go of your judgments about how you yourself have done. Promise yourself to do your best every day, and then remember that every day is a new beginning. Try creating a little prayer time just before sleep and during that time, review your day; identify the wins and losses; think about how to do better; and then forgive yourself. And sleep in peace.
Forgiveness is FREEDOM!
Forgiveness is FREEDOM. Try picking just one single offense and just let go of it. Perhaps write it down and then crumple it up and burn it. In that process, allow yourself to just forget it, to forgive.
When you forgive, you open the door to a life filled with freedom, joy, and enthusiasm. Forgiveness is the only “life skill” you need.
(Note: I am deeply indebted to DAILY WORD magazine and all the Unity ministers and writers who have helped me with forgiveness for so many years.)
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