We often tie forgiveness and reconciliation together. But forgiveness and reconciliation are separate processes. Forgiveness is something each of us can do on our own. Reconciliation requires the participation of another person or entity.
True reconciliation cannot happen without forgiveness. But we can forgive, yet consciously determine reconciliation is not possible…
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Proverbs 4:23, MSG
One of my favorite shows is OWN’s “Greenleaf” which follows the deeds and misdeeds of a family leading a mega-church in the south.
The midseason cliffhanger saw the primary character in a life and death struggle with the show’s primary villain. Her inability to forgive led her to interpret her antagonist’s actions incorrectly, which led to heightened emotions (in this case panic), which led to actions that may lead to results contrary to what she wants.
She has looked for peace in his punishment, but peace can only come through forgiveness…
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18: 21-22, MSG
You’ve heard this adage, which, I believe, really speaks to a higher-level consciousness that many of us find difficult to achieve. Biblical passages like those in Hebrews and Isaiah assure us that God “blots” our sins, or “ wipes the slate clean” of our sins, or doesn’t “keep a list” of our sins. For most of us humans, the idea that we must forget an offense to truly forgive the offender sometimes stops the whole process.
But forgiving does not mean having to forget the offense or deny it happened or to ignore the real feelings that it generated. Forgiving may mean that we simply have to think differently about what happened, change the feelings about what we think and modify how we act.
Forgiving may require that we overlook what has happened.
When I forgive, I free others and myself from past behavior, mistakes and regret. I’ve found that forgiving benefits all aspects of my life… from my relationships, and my health to my ability to focus energy on what I’m here to do.
Forgiveness removes hurt and resentment and allows me to see clearly to a much brighter future.
“When you forgive you don’t change the past, you change the future.” Rev. Mark Anthony Lord
Forgiveness has been at the forefront of my experience over the past few years. And I’ve gotten really clear that being able to forgive others is about me…that I can forgive without another person doing anything…that forgiveness is freedom.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” ~ Nelson Mandela
I’m a fitness instructor with bad knees. My clients are often surprised to see me taking an elevator instead of the stairs after a class. I don’t take the stairs because walking up and especially down stairs puts a lot of strain on my knees. I save my knees for demonstrating the best form when I’m teaching and being in the best form when I’m taking class.
My knees let me know when I’ve gone too far. My knees are the reason I challenge my clients to push themselves to THEIR limit versus what I might think they can do. Because each client is the only one who really knows if they’re pushing to their limit, challenging what’s comfortable and living up to their potential.
In life as in fitness, you are the only one who knows if you’re giving it your best shot or just coasting. And you’re the only one you have to please.
“The journey to wholeness requires that you look honestly, openly, and with courage into yourself, into the dynamics that lie behind what you feel, what you perceive, what you value, and how you act.” ~ Gary Zukav
I’ve seen some people live this saying as if they can ONLY learn through their own experienced mistakes. And while I concede those lessons tend to be the most enduring, I wonder…isn’t is possible to learn through someone else’s experience?
But then I’m reminded that life is not necessarily supposed to be smooth all the time. The life lessons gained through good and bad experiences help us get to who we’re supposed to be.
“Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.” ~ Desmond Tutu
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Jung.
People who aren’t whole are always looking for someone else to approve what they are doing, how they look… who they are. But there is nothing external to you that can complete who you are; you have to achieve wholeness on your own.
“I am a Divine, magnificent expression of life, and deserve the very best. I accept miracles. I accept healing. I accept wholeness. And most of all, I accept myself. I am precious, and I cherish who I am.” ~ Louise Hay
Have you ever justified staying with someone or in something that is not working for you because of the time, treasure or talent you’ve already invested? Have you ever been wrong about someone you trusted but unable to admit it to those who knew and tried to warn you? Have you ever doubled-down even in the face of overwhelming evidence that what you believe is untrue?
Our level of denial often reflects our level of commitment. The more committed we are, the harder it is to admit when we are wrong.
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” –Mark Twain
Inhale What is, Exhale What is not… Inhale Evidence, Exhale Illusions… Inhale Reality, Exhale Delusion… Just Breathe…