The Freedom in Forgiveness
On this day of your life, dear friend, I believe God wants you to know...
..that disappointment is temporary. Only your thought is permanent.
Change your mind about what has disappointed you and you will change your life. All disappointment is just Advantage, looked at from the other side.
-Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God books
Tonight, I watched Barack Obama giving a memorial speech at the University of Arizona regarding the six people who died and the thirteen who were injured last Saturday in Tucson. It was a gruesome event that put a bullet in one side of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ head and it came out the other side! Yet, the miracle is that she survived. Today, she opened her eyes for the first time right after the President left her hospital room. Six other innocent people lost their lives, including a little nine-year-old girl with aspirations of becoming the first woman in Major League baseball!
I was choked up and had tears in my eyes because of his touching speech. Then I got online, opened my email and found the above quote. Before I even saw the quote, the speech on television stirred my heart deeply about the need to forgive. The quote itself proves my belief in synchronicity that I wrote about yesterday in my article, “Signs of Synchronicity”.
Many times, those who have disappointed us (or even worse, so deeply affected us in a negative way), don’t even know we have chosen to forgive them. We forgive so that we can heal our own hearts, not necessarily theirs. They need to learn to forgive themselves.
I used to think that forgiveness was for the person that hurt us. I used to think that if I forgave them, they would be so relieved, they would do whatever they could to make up for all the disappointment and pain. Not so, usually. At least, it’s been that way in my experience. That’s part of where my idealistic tendencies have tended to grow a lot more realistic!
The people who have hurt us or caused us pain don’t always do it intentionally. Some do, like this gunman in Tucson last Saturday. He had it planned. Yet, my perspective “everything happens for a reason” allows me to understand that they have as much value as we do. They just have minds and hearts that may be emotionally damaged, sometimes beyond repair (such as people like Hitler, Dahmer, Manson, Saddam Hussein and others like them.)
Lots of times in our lives, we don’t understand why things happen. Sometimes, we never figure it out. I have learned to accept that. I wish I knew the reasons for every awful thing that happens, but I know I never will.
Because of who I am, I have to create my own understanding for why things happen. They have to make sense to me. I constantly need to remember that there is some good in all things. Like Mr. Walsch says, “...it’s just Advantage, looked at from the other side.” I agree. The Advantage is that when I have forgiven, I have become a more compassionate person. Forgiveness that I have given others has caused me to learn to be more tolerant, more accepting, more understanding. It has allowed my heart to be free. It has allowed me freedom from emotional suffering, anger, bitterness, hatred, vengeance and retribution.
It literally has even been documented as healing illnesses and disease in the bodies of others who have forgiven. It’s the “mind over matter” concept. The mind is so very powerful, that we can literally heal ourselves from the inside out, if we choose to put forth the effort, time and mental/spiritual practices required to do so.
Forgiveness is not easy for a lot of people. We all choose to feel how we feel. We are the only ones that can change those feelings. We don’t have to let them control our lives and cause more misery than we have already been given by others. It’s totally up to me, to you, to all of us, to choose how we feel, why we feel that way and what we are going to do to change it if we don’t like the feelings. Forgiveness is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to do that.