Forgiveness does not come easy to me. Over the years I have managed to ‘let it go’ for some and not for others. Although I understand that holding on keeps me hostage and not the other, I still have not managed to ‘let it go’. So the question arises, “How do I forgive and free myself to a fuller expression and experience?”
I have found an answer in the words and wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship…We must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found in our worst enemy.
The answer for me lies in recognizing that the evil deed of the enemy neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. Because it never quite expresses all that he is, then it never quite expresses all that I am when I have failed or hurt myself or another in some way. When I extend that compassion to myself and acknowledge that I am more than that hurt, disappointment, shortcoming etc, I am then able to forgive the other. I can finally ‘let it go’ and free myself.
In response to the question, it seems to me that there is nothing to do, only to be- be compassionate. So, I start with myself. Being compassionate with myself feels like a gentle stroke of Self-love- amazing! The power of forgiveness lies in the compassion we extend to ourselves and others.
In joy and peace,