“Forgiveness is discovering that what you thought happened, didn’t.”- Byron Katie
Is Forgiveness A Choice Or A Result?
We have come to see forgiveness as a magnanimous action we either choose to extend or withhold.[bctt tweet=”The magnanimous extending of forgiveness is often just a form of self-righteousness judgment.”]
“I forgive you” is seen as a statement of moral strength and of taking the high road. It’s usually coming from the personality and is a veiled way of saying “Even though your selfish actions/words hurt/damaged me, I’m the better person and I want you to know that even though you don’t deserve it, I will show my moral superiority and pardon you.”[bctt tweet=”True forgiveness is not really a choice but rather a discovery that I wasn’t seeing clearly.”]
When I made a condemning judgment of you (or me), I was seeing through the distorted eyes of my personality. As I begin to see more through the eyes of my Soul, forgiveness is just a natural and effortless result.
Am I Condoning by Forgiving?
A common resistance to this idea is the belief that I would then be condoning harmful behavior (my own or others). However, with improved vision (perception) that what you thought happened, didn’t, also comes improved clarity of what harms and what heals and a natural movement from harming to healing. This too is not really a choice or action, but a discovery of clearer seeing.[bctt tweet=”Automatic forgiving is really just accepting that I don’t see clearly enough to judge well.”]
Forgiveness happens automatically when your perception becomes clear enough, but until then, forgiveness of others and of yourself can be done based on trust that even though you don’t yet see clearly why you did what you did or the other person did what they did, you trust there is more going on than you can see now, so why burden yourself with the mental weight of non-forgiveness.
This is why the Bible teaches that we are are to forgive all men, even seventy times seven times. Not because that is the morally superior thing to do, but because it is a simple recognition that our human perception is very limited and distorted. As a result, the instruction we are given to forgive all is for our own protection and freedom.
Jesus said when he was being crucified, “Father,forgive them for they know not what they do.” I believe he was saying this not only about the soldiers, but about the accusers that called for his crucifixion and about every one of us.
Forgiving Doesn’t Equal Trusting
Forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean trusting them and it doesn’t mean they won’t experience the consequences of their actions. It just means that as long as the defensive personality is running the show, people (including yourself) will likely do or say stupid things that will be completely justified by the personality as appropriate defensive or attacking maneuvers given the circumstances.
It’s wise to expect that this will be the case with nearly everyone at some point when their personality is feeling particularly insecure. Seeing this is part of the clarity that makes forgiving automatic.
True forgiveness is when we can look at others and ourselves and internally say something like “I know that we all have defensive insecure personalities that at times will say or do harmful things believing them to be justified based on how they are seeing things. I also know that isn’t who you or I really am and that we’re all here to become less personality driven and more Soul directed.”
When we see this, forgiveness of ourselves and of others becomes automatic, it even becomes pre-extended before you or I have even said or done the next stupid thing that our insecure personality says or does when it feels threatened.