Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time. – Sara Paddison
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
“Give me your blessing, holy Son of God. I would behold you with the eyes of Christ. And see my perfect sinlessness in you.” – A Course in Miracles, Lesson 161
Happy New Year! Although I had great hopes in 2011 to read a lesson from A Course in Miracles each day I’m still only in the 100s (there are 365, one for each day). I thought I’d begin the new year right and continue from where I left off. Maybe finish the lessons by the end of 2012.
The quote above is from today’s lesson. It asks us to think of someone that we might think of as an enemy. In my case, I thought of someone that I might call a “frienemy”.
The exercise says to think of the person: see his face… his clothing… see familiar gestures which he makes. Then remember that what see are seeing now conceals from you the sight of the one who can forgive you all your sins.
I found this lesson to be very powerful. It’s hard to stay upset with someone or to look down on them when you see them as a Son of God and are looking for their blessing.
The lesson goes on to say, “Today’s idea is your safe escape from anger and from fear. Be sure you use it instantly, should you be tempted to attack a brother and perceive in him the symbol of your fear. And you will see him suddenly transformed from enemy to savior, from the devil into Christ.”
So much of why we view some as our enemy (or “frienemy”) is because we do not see them as the Son of God that they are. But when we are reminded of this and we see the light in them, we see that there’s no reason for anger, fear, or attack.
These were the last words spoken by Jesus as he was crucified on the cross.
I remember going to church as a young boy and talking about this story in sunday school lessons. Although my recollection is vague, I remember thinking, “Wow, this must be the ultimate example of love and forgiveness. For someone who did nothing wrong (sinless) to be killed but rather than responding in anger, Jesus speaks for the evil-doers and asks God to forgive them for what they’re doing to him.”
The thing is, I don’t remember really talking about the second half of Jesus’ sentence, “They know not what they do.”
My spiritual journey has taken me out of the church. Since then I’ve come across other teachers and writings (such as A Course In Miracles as I mentioned before). Many of these teachers use teachings from Jesus as well as figures from other traditions such as shamans, Buddha and Lao Tsu.
Many of these teachers make reference to something called the “ego”. This word seems to be used by most while others might use a different word but referring to the same idea: that there a “self” that we tend to identify with. This “self” seems to live inside of us and is often responsible for what we think and therefore what we do. But it’s not the “real” us because that “true self” is a spiritual being.
I think a lot of times after we do or say something that hurts others we might think to ourselves, “Why did I do that? Why would I say that? I didn’t really want to hurt that person.” Or we might say, “I’m sorry for what I said or did. I was angry and wasn’t myself.”
Perhaps this is more true than we’d like to think. I think it’s always true that if we do not act out of love then we are acting out of fear. But it is not our “true” spiritual selves that are lacking in love; it’s our egos. But we can easily get caught up in our ego believing what it’s telling us and often even believing we are that voice. When this happens, then it is true that “we know not what we do”.
So when Jesus said, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do!” He may have meant it literally.
The challenge for us is: can we forgive knowing that whoever hurt us did not know what they were doing?
To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error, and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not, and you cannot know what you are because you see him falsely. — ACIM
An amazing story of forgiveness that is still going on after 5 years.
“The need for rich understandings and practices of forgiveness is, regrettably, no less urgent today than it was five years ago. “
Read the whole article at Good New Network here: http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/most-popular/amish-forgiveness-lessons-5th.html