Sunday, May 16, 2010

52CP20: Forgiveness

As often happens, my inspiration this week is derived from thoughts going on in my "real life". I've been made aware - again - of the need to stay out of judgement to begin with, and - alternately - to forgive, if staying out of judgement is not possible. No, I am not the one judging - someone I know is hurting because of the judgements passed on them.

This post will be a collection of thoughts on the subject, and may or may not follow a cohesive pattern. Consider it "stream of consciousness", if you will, and join me in my canoe as we paddle downstream...

As we go about our daily-ness and our busy-ness, it often happens that something or someone will cross our path that trips us up in some way, or that causes less-than-positive thoughts to enter our heads. When this occurs, we are at choice: We can choose to be offended/hurt/angry/whatever or we can realize that we are being given an opportunity for growth. If we look at the "why" behind the negative reaction we will most likely find that the occurrence is a mirror for us to see some aspect of ourselves. How, then, do we pass judgement on the "other" without passing it on ourselves as well? Recognize the lesson, bless the "other" for providing it, and carry on...

An analogy regarding someone offending you: You are driving down the road and someone cuts you off or blocks you in or takes your turn at the stop sign or something equally offensive and annoying. They aren't even thinking about you (obviously), so how can you take their offensive action personally? They're already well down the road not giving you a second thought (since they never gave you a first one, anyway), so if you're sitting there stewing and fuming and all of that, who is paying the price? Not Mr/Ms La-La-Land - they're already gone! Yup - that would be you. How does it serve you to let someone else's inconsiderate behavior ruin your day? Extrapolate this out to a broad view and realize that most of the offensive behaviors you encounter are equally not about you! More likely, the offending party is just: a) having a bad day, b) always offensive to everyone, c) oblivious, d) all of the above.

Moving on to the possibility that we truly can be hurt by those we love: harboring resentment against them does not serve you. Harboring any negative emotion causes your body to release negative substances into your system, and sooner or later they will impact your health negatively. Emotional festering leads to physical festering, guaranteed! Again - the object of your resentment is not paying any price for that resentment - you're footing the bill all by yourself...

A poem by Carol Lynn Pearson on the subject:


Will I forgive,
You cry.
What is the gift,
The favor?

You would lift
Me from
My poor place
To stand beside
The Savior.
You would have
Me see with
His eyes,
And with Him
Reach out to
A sorrowing heart -
For one small
To share in
Christ's great art.

Will I forgive,
You cry.
May I -
May I?

Even those who do not subscribe to Christianity can take away the essence of the poem, which is that we are taking a higher path and following a higher power when we forgive.

On judgement: We do not judge others by how they are, we judge them by how we are. Whatever our background/education/life experience/religious training, etc., has been colors our perceptions. What we perceive to be one way may, in fact, be something completely different. The old adage of "Until you walk a mile..." comes into play. Two people doing the exact same thing do not have the exact same motivation for doing it, and unless you are in their heart and mind with them, you do not know what it is. How can you judge?

Likewise, those who would sit in judgement on you do not have all of the information necessary to make that judgement, so it's in your best interest not to let their opinion impact you too much, if at all! I once came across a magazine article that has since become something of a mantra for me. Well, actually just the title of the article - I never read the article because the title was all I needed: "Your Opinion Of Me Is None Of My Business". Yes, we want people to think well of us, but ultimately it comes down to you being okay with who you are without input from outside sources, so time spent fretting about it is wasted, futile energy.

Which leads me to the aspect of forgiveness where most of us could use improvement: forgiving ourselves. I've used this analogy many, many times over the years in conversations with my children and others, and I'm using it again now: We are not born knowing how to walk, talk, read, tie our shoes or anything else. It takes time, teaching and experience to be able to do any of those things. Do we ever, ever beat ourselves up because we couldn't talk when we were born? Or because nobody taught us to tie our shoes until we were four or five? No, we do not - that's the expected pattern and so we don't give it any thought.

Why, then, do we beat ourselves up over choices we make before we learned better? It's my considered opinion that we make the best choice we can with the information available to us at the time. Just because we may gain better information later does not mean we could have done it differently "back then". Sure, it's natural to have regrets and wish that we "knew then what we know now", but recognize that you didn't know then, and forgive yourself! Lesson learned, carry on!

As a last little tidbit, I'd like to serve up part of the lyrics to Don Henderson's song, "The Heart of the Matter":

There are people in your life
Who've come and gone.
They let you down,
You know they hurt your pride.
Better put it all behind you,
'Cuz life goes on.
You keep carrying that anger,
It'll eat you up inside.

I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter,
But my will gets weak,
And my thoughts seem to scatter,
But I think it's about forgiveness...

Stamps: Close to My Heart Love Quotes; Ink: Stampin'Up! Close to Cocoa; Paper: SU! Close to Cocoa, Bella's Birds dp; Accessories/tools: Nestabilities Labels Four, Fiskars decorative-edge scissors, ribbon rosebud, sewing machine

For my card I went with the idea that following forgiveness there is an increase in love or, alternately, that if we "look with the eyes of love", i.e., look for the good, put ourselves in their place, etc., we will realize that judgement/negativity need not happen.

Thank you for joining me here again today! Here's Mr. Linky:

1 comment:

Beverly Gotthardt said...

Another great challenge, hope your week is ticking along at a happy pace.