The Path to Forgiveness

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Forgiveness is the act of letting go of the wounded self.

The disciple Peter raised the question of forgiveness. When one offends you, he said in essence, do we forgive them seven times? Jesus responded that you should forgive them “seventy times seven.” In other words, forgive until you know you have completely released the offender.

We all have memories of people that have in some way hurt us. Why should we let them off the hook when we still carry the scars they inflicted? The answer is simple. A strong identification with that part of you that feels unjustly wounded will forever keep you in bondage, both to the actions of others and to certain conditions that threaten to reopen the old wound.

Who would profit more, the one who successfully builds an impenetrable wall of protection around their fragile identity, or the one who releases that identity in favor of one that is so strong it needs no protection? A strong wall is not the equivalent of being firmly grounded in the true, indestructible Self.

To forgive does not mean that you condone or continue to make yourself the willing recipient of the unacceptable behavior of another. When you open your mind and heart to your spiritual identity, your relationship dynamic will change as well. You make new choices, which may include a parting of ways with the offender. This would not occur out of weakness or a sense of self protection, but out of the new strength you have discovered.

We subject ourselves to the low vision of others because of the low vision we carry. Through the practice of forgiveness—self forgiveness in particular—our vision is lifted, and we can see clearly that our most effective course of action is the inner work of letting go of the woundable self. Freedom emerges to the degree that we accomplish this important work.

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