Sunday, December 20, 2015

Forgiveness: The Heart of the Matter

There is something about this time of year that make me (and many others) reflective. I think back to the many loves I've had: some were brief, some were long-standing, and some continue to haunt me (for good or bad).

For the relationships that ended badly, I am filled with regret for not only my actions, but for what I allowed to happen. I remember those horrible moments, I try to come to terms with the mistakes that were made, and I take a hard look at myself searching for evidence that I'm better, wiser now than I was then. Some days, I even believe that.

I was out at a café listening to a live band who played the song linked below and it hit me so hard, so unexpectedly. It's not a new idea, but the weight of it could not be ignored. Forgiveness: it's the only way out, but it's the toughest process to bear.

The idea of forgiveness is not about giving anyone a free pass: it doesn't mean that what you did was okay, what they did was okay, or that any of it was justified. Forgiveness is about releasing some of the pain, the anger, and the sadness that comes with conflict, for you and the people involved.

Forgiveness is to realize that these ugly moments are now a part of everyone, but you are now committing to moving forward, moving beyond that moment and to work towards being a better person. Although that ugly moment is a part of you, it does not represent your whole being unless you let it become your whole being by dwelling on the pain, the anger, and the sadness of it. Rather, you will use that moment as a milestone so that you can choose to dwell in your current state of being.

The word "dwell" is important in this context. It describes they way that you embody a space with an extension of yourself. The best way to think of the word "dwell": you live in a house, but you dwell in a home. Will you allow this pain to dominate your personal dwelling, or will you forgive it, find it's place in your being, and work on adding beauty to your dwelling. Unless you forgive those moments, forgiving both yourself and the other people, those moments will dominate your dwelling and that is a choice that *you* make.

I also say that forgiveness releases *some* of the negativity. We always keep some of it with us, hoarding it greedily. The choice to forgive is not a single act, but a recurring one. Each time you revisit the moment, you can forgive it again, and again, and again. It is a cycle that you get to control and make the personal choice of how often you will forgive and how much you will forgive. No one will know any of that but you, but everyone will see and feel its effects on your being.

I'm going through this process right now and it's not easy, but I'm hoping it will be worth the work. In this season of generosity, of suffering, and comfort and compassion, indulge yourself in some forgiveness. Because when you do, we all benefit.

Heart Of The Matter by hawklan