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Forgiveness

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Saturday, August 25th, 2012 3:01 pm

I'm having coffee with the queen this morning. This is courtesy of my sons and their recent trip to Great Britain. It's interesting to have HRM staring back at me as I write. I tell myself she is beaming her approval.

***

I have encountered many stop and think moments regarding forgiveness lately. I noticed the pattern, but largely ignored it as there was no recent hurt I needed to release; no injury I needed to pardon.

Earlier this week, I heard a great interview on Sirisus XM's The Message with the group Tenth Avenue North about their new song, Losing. The lyrics echo the words of Jesus from the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," against the plea for grace to forgive, even when we feel like it means we're losing. I almost switched channels when I heard the interview begin. While there is some Christian music I love, I often find the banter irritating, simplistic and preachy. These guys were articulate and interesting.

And it's true, when we truly surrender the hurt of an injury, our egos may tally it as a loss. It's also true, that if we accept grace as it was offered by Christ, it is a very tall order to shape our lives into channels of that same grace in response.

I want to share a financial analogy with you, as money comes closest to striking the same chord with all of us.

Imagine that you make $100,000.00. Now imagine that you also owe a debt of $100,000,000.00. You know you will work all your life and never be out of debt. Can you imagine how that weight would feel day in and day out? How would it feel to know you can not possibly make enough or do enough to repay that debt and continue to meet the obligations of food, shelter and necessities? You might pray daily for a lottery win or a miracle.

Then, the miracle happens. The one holding your debt says, "Your debt has been forgiven. We're taking it off our books. Your obligation has been met." No need for bankruptcy. No public disclosure. You just quietly and quickly are liberated from your obligation. Forever.

Can you imagine the incredible sense of relief you would feel? You suddenly would have more than enough. Your salary would seem huge, and your life, abundant.

So, if you pray the Lord's prayer and say, "forgive us our debts..." think of that analogy. And keep thinking when you get to, "...as we forgive our debtors."

Oofdah!

Imagine, if we truly released every little bit of hurt or harm we thought another had caused us? Imagine if we truly forgave with the measure we've been forgiven.

Actually, I had myself convinced I was pretty good at this. I generally just don't hang on to much muck. Or so I told myself.

Then last week, I had a string of sleepless nights. I kept waking with a parade of little hurts lining up to march through my sleep-deprived thinking. In the parade were assumptions about people's motivation; regrets over opportunities I thought I'd long since forgotten; exclusion and hurt; words that stung and that I thought I'd released to God's good hands came tumbling back to me with incredible clarity. All that "stuff" was still bumping around in my heart taking up room I would have sworn was long since vacated to make space for joy and grace.

The following night, my sleepless thoughts were much darker and bigger. This time, it was my words and actions leading the parade. The things I've done full of justification and righteous indignation...or worse, complete thoughtlessness. I got out of bed so I could catch my breath, so heavy were the self-analyzing thoughts I churned up. I've been a bitch. I've been so mean. I've held on to so much crap! And there it all was tumbling across my consciousness at 3 a.m.

Forgiveness.

Finally, I embraced the realization that my thoughts didn't keep taking me back to forgiveness because I needed to give it. I need to ask for it. I saw clearly some of the duplicity in my life. And, rather than a sense of guilt or anxiety, I felt absolutely weightless as I laid all this muddle out there with God. I felt like every knot was moved from my shoulders and my heart was wide open and overflowing with luscious grace. I felt forgiven. Immediately. Purely. Completely. And I drifted off to sleep.

I hadn't really ever thought about forgiveness in a physical sense before. But I truly, felt new.

Now, here's the challenge. If we can imagine that...our hearts opened...our debts forgiven..., or better yet, if we've experienced it, then we owe that peace to one another. We must love each other just. like. that. With complete forgiveness and unconditional love.

Not forgiveness from that place that says, "Whatever. It's okay." Or that other place where we, as Garth Brooks once sang, bury the hatchet, but leave the handle sticking out. Forgiveness given by God and modeled by Jesus is not the nasty kind that leaves a litany of transgressions dangling above the head of an other, waiting to come crashing down when we're mad again. We have to learn to deep clean the slates and let loose the hold we have on hurts.

When we do, we've created just the right space for good things to take root. For goodness to grow in us and through us.

Next, maybe we'll tackle how to say "I'm sorry."


7 comments
inspired2ignite
inspired2ignite

Very powerful post!  I recently experienced the healing power of forgiveness when my mother and I saw each other for the first time in 12 years. (very long story)  Actually, we both experienced freedom and healing from the experience.  Anger, denial and resentment were roadblocks that we finally came through.

Your post spoke very strongly to me.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith moderator

 @inspired2ignite I can't even imagine the kind of experience it would be--either to be out of touch for 12 years, or to reach the point of release when you could come together with your Mom again. What a huge burden you laid down! I'm so grateful you found the post and that you shared your thoughts here. I hope you come back soon!

RickManelius
RickManelius

Wow... dynamite insights! I know for the longest time I looked at forgiveness like it was a favor, or letting someone off the hook. That resulted merely in a transference of debt, leading to a mountain of resentment. It wasn't until I started studying "A Course In Miracles" (loosely based on the idea of God and Christianity, but clearly something entirely different), that I realized I had it all backwards. True forgiveness is realizing there never was a transgression in the first place! That most of the time it's much ado about nothing, all illusions invented by the mind, etc. Even in the worst case of violence, it's nothing personal... it's merely a reflection of the inner hell being experienced and metered out by attacker.

 

I realize many people may not agree with me on this, but it really changed how I looked at life. And now I'm much more willing and able to forgive... really forgive people I come across in life. And yes, this includes myself :)

 

Thanks for such a wonderful article. I don't think I could have tackled the subject as eloquently! 

 

Finally... long time no see. It's good to be back :)

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith moderator

 @RickManelius  I haven't read A Course In Miracles, but I read (and loved) Marianne WIllaimson's Return to Love, which is based largely on the ACM teachings. And I think Eckhart Tolle makes some similar points in A New Earth. There is great power in removing ourselves from the situation and seeing it as it is rather than as it is "to us." I often only reach that peaceful place after my cathartic outbursts which are all focused inward and full of defense. Someday, maybe I'll be able to skip straight from perceived injury (aka non-transgression) to release...then I'll be a saint...and oh-so-boring!

 

Rick, I love your insights. It IS good to be back!

RiverwoodWriter
RiverwoodWriter

Oh Mimi, Mimi, Mimi, you had an angel guiding your hand when you wrote this one!

 

Wow.

 

So powerful and so true! Please, please, please may I run it as a guest post on Heartspoken? I'll wait a month or so, but I doubt there's anyone who couldn't be blessed by this message if they were open to it. If you are willing, send me a short bio you'd like to use with it.

 

Thank you, once again, for the all the goodness you put out into the world.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith moderator

 @RiverwoodWriter Oh Elizabeth, you are the best! Of course! And anytime!! I would be honored. I have your last post flagged in my inbox to read, so I will pop over soon!

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith moderator

 @RiverwoodWriter Oh...for the bio, just say I am your friend. A friendship that is a testament to social media and goodness in the world :)!