Tag Archives: forgiveness

November Post For Peace

“Normally we divide the external world into that which we consider to be good or valuable, bad or worthless, or neither. Most of the time these discriminations are incorrect or have little meaning. For example, our habitual way of categorizing people as friends, enemies, and strangers depending on how they make us feel is both incorrect and a great obstacle to developing impartial love for all living beings. Rather than holding so tightly to our discriminations of the external world, it would be much more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind.”  ―     Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,   Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey  

argument

The monthly peace challenge for November is “Love Thy Enemy“.  Open your arms to your enemies. Think of a person, a place, a nation, a culture, a religion, a gender, or an ideology that you view as an enemy.

Enemy is a word I don’t like very much. For three days I’ve been trying to think of an enemy to embrace, feeling all smug and lucky that I don’t have one.  Yes, I am often in La La Land and oblivious to many things.  What exactly does it mean to have enemies?

I looked it up, thinking surely I must have missed the boat here if I can’t be all angry and hateful about something like other normal people.  It’s a relativist term for an entity, whether an individual or a group, that is seen as forcefully adverse or threatening.

Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.

In other less wordy words, sometimes the enemy is conjured up in our heads when we see life as black and white, good guys and bad guys, friends and foes.   Sometimes it’s even a one-sided concept, and our perceived enemies have no idea they’re causing us frustration and grief. And I guess that’s how a person becomes their own worst enemy.

I don’t like this word because when you label a person or a group or a nation as the enemy, you give them power over you, and you set yourself up to become a victim.  You begin to see them as the cause of all your problems.  They hurt you, and you want to hurt them back in the same way.  You hold a grudge and you want revenge.  And suddenly you are no better and no different from the perceived enemy.

My parents taught me to be a good human being and to treat people with love, kindness, compassion and respect.  Do unto others, turn the other cheek;  practice tolerance, benevolence and forgiveness.  Do I do all of these things all of the time?  Hell yes!

Okay, no, of course I don’t.  I try.  But I also battle my fears, anger, misjudgments, narrow-mindedness and intolerance.  Some days I win, some days I lose.

There have been some annoying people in my life that I couldn’t stand, who irritated the hell out of me, made me bitter and resentful, spiteful and unkind.  I never thought of them as the enemy, but I guess I treated them as if they were exactly that.  Am I proud of how I’ve acted?  Did it make me happy?  Nope.

The bad feelings are destructive and counterproductive and even if I thought I was keeping them all inside, I know they affected the people around me.  Sending out those bad vibes is never a good idea because they always bounce right back.

It’s always easier to blame than it is to understand. It takes a lot less time to be mad at somebody than to try to figure out why they act the way they do.   But grief and hatred and hurt are the enemies of love and happiness and peace.  Every one of us is responsible for how we relate to the world around us.  Every relationship is an important part of the whole.  We think it doesn’t matter much if we hate something or someone but fear and anger and hatred spread until families and cultures and societies are infused with it.  Am I adding to that when I let my bad attitude out to play?

Turning resentment and hatred into acceptance and love is a challenge.  I have been challenged my whole life.   I think I’m finally winning the race though.  It took me three days, after all, to think up an enemy. It’s that little voice in my head that tells me it doesn’t matter what I do or how I feel.  Because it does matter.  Every one of us matters and we’re all in this together.  So let’s be friends.

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“In reality, there are no enemies; we’re all souls in growth, waking up”
―     James Redfield   The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision  

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the seeker – Candle in Spain

KM Huber’s Blog

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The Storyteller Review

the storyteller

Sage Singer befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?  (Goodreads)

This is no quick and easy read – it’s a complex and compelling one about good and evil and everything in between.  There are stories within the story that are horrifying, sickening, and unbearably sad, and yet I became immersed in every one of them.  There is guilt, grief, despair, hope, mindless cruelty, emotional scars, remorse and the lack of it.  The main story is told from several points of view, with a vampire tale woven in just to keep you on your toes.  Sounds confusing, but ultimately it’s not.  It’s gripping and grim, and still remarkable.

Normally I read a book in a few days, but this one took much longer to digest and absorb. It starts off slowly, then nails you to your chair, and finally ends with a twist.  If that didn’t hook you, perhaps these quotes will.

“Inside each of us is a monster; inside each of us is a saint. The real question is which one we nurture the most, which one will smite the other.” 

“I don’t believe in God. But sitting there, in a room full of those who feel otherwise, I realize that I do believe in people. In their strength to help each other, and to thrive in spite of the odds, I believe that the extraordinary trumps the ordinary, any day. I believe that having something to hope for — even if it’s just a better tomorrow — is the most powerful drug on this planet.” 

Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.” 

Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller

March Post for Peace

“People in general would rather die than forgive. It’s THAT hard. If God said in plain language. “I’m giving you a choice, forgive or die,” a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.”   – Sue Monk Kidd

Forgiveness Mandala by Wayne Stratz
Forgiveness Mandala by Wayne Stratz (Photo credit: Nutmeg Designs)

Forgiveness is not easy.

It’s not even easy to write about, never mind actually getting through the process myself.  To me, forgiveness means that I must stop blaming, stop being resentful, and give up the desire to hit back and get even.  I must try to be less judgmental. I must be finished and done with something to the point where I am over it and able to let it go and finally move on.

Sometimes it seems to me to be a never ending process that I will struggle with forever.  And even after all that I may never get it right.

This months Peace Challenge is Marching Towards Forgiveness. 

Forgiving Others

Forgiveness does not mean excusing or tolerating evil, and it does not absolve the criminal from the crime.  People do need to be held accountable for their wrongdoing.  Forgiveness should never mean having to shrug our shoulders and say that’s okay, when it’s not okay at all.

When we are wronged I believe we need to face our anger and our hurt head on.  We need to vent and call it what it is.  If we don’t, we will bottle up our feelings of rage, resentment and heartache until they harden into a need for revenge with no room left in our hearts or heads for anything else.  We will set ourselves up for an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.

It is never healthy to condone someones hurtful actions against us.  But at the same time we should try to understand that people hurt others as a result of their own pain.  We need to stay in touch with the other persons humanity, and believe in their capacity to change. Forgiving someone can mean giving them another chance, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because they need it.  When you forgive, you love.  You stop being a victim and you let go of the pain.  Forgiving others can give us back the laughter and the peace in our lives.

How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the  circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than  angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.   – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Depending on the severity of the offense, the process of forgiveness may take days, or months, or even years. It is something that all of us will struggle with, every day of our lives.  If we respond to every little act of rudeness and inconsideration with anger, the situation simply becomes worse.  Every day we have a choice to be loving and kind and forgiving.  Anger and hatred, if left unfed, will fade away. People who are negative and complaining all the time probably don’t really want to be that way. So smile at the person who scowls.  Brush off the bad driving of the person who cut you off. It won’t be easy, but whoever told you life would be easy?  Let go of the little things that don’t really matter whenever you can.

Forgiveness is not always easy.  At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it.  And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.  – Marianne Williamson.

Being Forgiven

Every one of us has done and said things that we regret and wish we could take back.  Quite possibly it happened when we were facing our anger head on and venting our little hearts out.  We passed our own pain and suffering on to someone else.  It takes a great deal of humility and spiritual and emotional maturity to say I’m sorry, and to seek forgiveness from the people we have hurt.  But it’s the only way I know of to make the guilt go away.

Tell yourself that you are important, and that everything you do is important.  You have the power to hurt, and you have the power to heal.  Admit it when you are wrong, and then pay for your mistakes.  Make it up.  Do the right thing.  Deserve the forgiveness you are looking for.  Apologize, and really mean it.  Will that be easy?  Good Gawd no.  But do it anyway.

Forgiving Yourself

This is by far the very hardest forgiveness of all.  Forgiving yourself means showering whoever you are at this exact moment with love and kindness every day.  You must let go of regrets and guilt and sadness and stop wasting your energy on worry, self-criticism and feelings of unhappiness and depression.  You are human, and you are not perfect.  Everything you have ever done and said and felt has been a learning experience for which you must find it in your heart to be thankful.

When you foster warmth, kindness and compassion towards yourself, you can’t help but spread it to everyone around you.  We forgive our children everything because we love them unconditionally.  I think we need to learn how to love ourselves like that, so that our lives will become meaningful, more peaceful, and much,  much happier.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life.

With every single act of true forgiveness, I believe the universe takes a deep breath and expands and heals.  One forgiving heart at a time, we can change the world.

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

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