What is forgiveness but not holding a grudge? No matter how grievous an error, an error is an error. Deliberate or by accident, it is still an error. Forgiveness does not erase an error, but it does let it go. How much can you hold on to, beloveds, without weighing yourself down? How much hurt and resentment can you pile up before your arteries get clogged?
You talk about justice, as if holding on is just. What is retribution but a tribute to pain past? What is forgiveness but letting go of judgment? Who is your model, beloved? Those who shoot, or those who put down their arms?
There is no equalizing life by perpetuating offense. Only forgiveness smoothes life out. Only forgiveness fills the crevices. Generosity uplifts the world. Whatever payment you wish to exact from another for their wrong, your attention is misplaced. It is you who must exact forgiveness from yourself for another’s wrong. You are not responsible for their act of stupidity, cruelty, negligence etc. You are responsible for yourself now. The greater their offense, the more incumbent it is upon you to forgive. You forgive by letting go of the steel bars you have put up in your heart. Take down those bars. They do not belong there. No one put them there but you, and it is you who has to remove them. Look not to another because you have imprisoned your heart.
It is not strong of you to bar your heart. It is weak of you to think you have to put iron bars in your heart in order to strengthen it. If you want to strengthen your resolve, have a different resolve. If you think you must have a cause, then make forgiveness your cause. If you want to pay someone back, pay back the one who has done you a kindness. Let that be your eye for an eye.
If you cannot think of anyone who has recently done you a kindness, then, go ahead, think of someone in the past, and remind yourself, and remind them. Don’t let the kindness go. Perpetuate it. Keep it lively. Have return of kindness in your mind. And if you hear of a stranger who has done great kindness to another, copy them.
Whom would you rather emulate than Buddha and Christ and others who walked the Earth in deference to Humanity? Would you rather be those in the Bible who pelted stones? You scorn the stone-throwers, and then you pick up your own stone, feeling justified in crime because another committed a crime. Recrimination is a crime. It is a crime to your heart to seek vengeance upon another.
You want to punish another, and you punish yourself.
Do you think you are incapable of forgiveness? You may be out of practice, but that doesn’t mean you are incapable. It means you have to start now. I give you an assignment now. No matter who you are, no matter how mighty, no matter how weak, this is what I ask of you:
In your mind, beg forgiveness of all those whom you have not heretofore forgiven. Beg them in your mind to forgive you. In your heart, bow down to them and humbly ask that they forgive your hardness of heart. Ask them to pardon you, and then receive their pardon in your heart. And thank them. Your thoughts will reach these souls. You do not soften the world by hardening your heart. The world will be warmed in the meltingness of your heart. We are talking about your letting resistance go. We are talking about you and your power in the world.
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