Why Forgiveness?

Last night I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop on forgiveness. I named it “Why Forgiveness?”

Many revelations came for the participants. One of the questions we asked ourselves is if we know that forgiveness is an important process for our well being, why don’t we forgive? Why do we hold onto hurts and disappointments and even more serious traumatic events? Why do we continue to live our present lives from our past experiences?

I know this is not true for all of us, but if we are honest with ourselves, we might see how the way we are present is a reflection of what is past. We color our new relationships, our ideas of about finances, the way we look at others by past experiences. For some of us, we have not even let go of the things our parents told us that might not be benefitting our present life? Why can’t we forgive?

From my experience, I believe my answer lies in the wanting to be right. My ego needs an apology. I feel if I hold onto the wrong I think someone did to me, I can continue hold them responsible for how I feel about myself.

We did a wonderful exercise last night that was inspired by the forgiveness work of Dr. Harry Morgan Moses of California. In this work, there is a step where we release our expectation of the other person ever giving us what we wanted from them; things like appreciation, love, respect or other gifts that we as human being so desire. After releasing the other person from our expectations, we are free to realize that we are the ones that can give these gifts to ourselves. We are free of our hold on making someone act the way we think they should. We free them to their own responsibility for their actions and thus free ourselves.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful life-long practices. And, it is a practice. It is not something that happens in a moment or a day. When Jesus told his disciples they must forgive seven times seventy and more, he was pointing the way to something that is ever moving through us.

Forgiveness, for me, is letting go of the past in every moment and allowing each moment to be new, unexplored and fresh. It opens my mind and heart to the new. At one time, I might have thought I knew everything about forgiveness, but I believe the process is just beginning for me. I look forward to where it will take me each day. As I release the expectations I put onto others, I am free of a heavy burden that I might have been carrying for a very long time.

Forgiveness is not for the other person. It is most definitely for us. Forgiveness is true freedom. It doesn’t remove the pain of the event, but it removes our attachment to it. As we forgive, the subsiding of the pain is a natural occurrence.

More on this later.

Love and Aloha,

Rev. Rita

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