We all have had the opportunity to forgive. In fact, we frequently have the opportunity to forgive. I think it may be one of the most challenging spiritual acts that we can be called upon to execute.....especially when we have a really good reason to be angry, hurt, resentful etc. etc. etc.
As difficult as it may be, it is necessary to forgive in order to have true peace. As long as we are holding on to anger, hurt, or resentment for someone else, we are held captive in the land of suffering. When we hang out in this land, we will typically be complaining about the person or situation we blame for whatever wrong occurred. Although we typically feel justified in this, we are essentially putting our joy on a shelf as we wallow in our well deserved right to be angry, hurt or upset.
Let's face it.....hanging out in the land of anger induced suffering does not change any of our past, but it sure does put a cloud over our present and threatens the potential happiness of our future. It does not punish the person whom we are reluctant to forgive, but it does have that affect on ourselves.
Some people confuse forgiveness with saying that whatever was said or done to you is okay.....that it is excused, and that is not the point of spiritual forgiveness. It is more about seeing beyond the act of the person to the spirit of the individual. It would be seeing beyond their choices, their actions and their words to see the beautiful spirit that is within. It is in essence, a choice to focus on the beauty of that person, rather than their mistakes.
Forgiving does not mean you stay in a dangerous relationship or continue to do business with a dishonest merchant. It does mean, however, that you can see the person that hurt you beyond whatever occurred and choose not to carry the hurt with you as you walk away.
The wonderful side effect of forgiving others is that as we practice this beautiful form of love, we are also forgiving ourselves at the same time. When we begin to see beyond the mistakes of others, we gradually see beyond our own. The ultimate end result is to be able to always return to the pure spirit within. It is here that peace is present now and always will be.
A favorite quote of mine is "To forgive is to set the prisoner free and then discover the prisoner was you". When I remember that I am punishing myself when I refuse to forgive, it helps me to choose how I want to be in the moment......at peace or victimized.