Something happened. I did it. The wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know it. Others were affected. Perhaps I did not intend it but none-the-less it happened. I have done wrong to others and to myself. I have erred. I have caused pain and sadness. Others may have chosen suffering but I was the creator of the initial event. I accept it.
As these words are true for me so are they true for each of us. This statement of recognition and acceptance is the pivot point for forgiveness. Each of us lives in a glass house. None of us need throw stones. For stones are like boomerangs and misaddressed mail, they always return to the sender.
Stone and glass create an interesting sound when they meet but the fallout can be disastrous and it is very likely someone will get hurt. That someone is always ourselves. We are the one who hurts the most when we do not forgive. We are the ones who suffer. So if that is not motive enough to understand forgiveness more I have no idea what might motivate you or I to change.
What is it that can make forgiveness so elusive sometimes on some issues? What is at the core of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs when we chose not to forgive someone? I believe it is our own failures come back to haunt us. We cannot forgive another because in fact we have not forgiven ourselves and it is attacking us from within.
Lack of forgiveness is really a lack of grace. We hold onto an expectation that something someone did (or did not do) was unfair to us. And perhaps it is even true. That does not make it our lifetime companion. We hold them (or ourselves) to a standard that cannot be met. We desire a goal or an outcome that did not transpire. We want their choice to be different than the one already made.
To forgive is to shine understanding and compassion on another. It means we see outside of ourselves and into the other and understand that at a core fundamental level we are all the same no matter how different some of the choices we make may be. We can forgive because we can relate that sometimes there are bad outcomes. Sometimes there are good outcomes. But always there are outcomes. And always there is choice to view the outcome from different sides.
So the next time you feel harmed make sure it does not become your constant companion. Make sure you remember you to have done something unfair to others and let compassion be your guide. Let your anger go. Leave your expectations at the door. Let forgiveness grow and prosper in your life and you shall receive a deeper level of happiness than you have ever known before.