Question: “I would like to hear more about how forgiveness is the recognition of the spiritual purity of the soul. How does sin manifest itself when/if an individual does not forgive themselves. I suspect health, finances, relationships, etc. are affected but what about the effect on a higher level.”
In my book, The Complete Soul, I make a distinction between the soul and the self-image. The soul is our true spiritual essence, that image-likeness of God from Genesis. The self-image is the body-based personality that we’ve developed over time. Most of us go through life identifying most with the self-image. From this perspective we sometimes make mistakes that can affect our sense of self-worth or the self-worth of another.
Nothing we do or fail to do from the level of the self-image affects the spiritual purity of the soul. Jesus illustrated this in the father’s dismissive attitude toward his wayward son’s irresponsible, self-destructive actions. The father did not forgive his son because he never condemned him. The father represents our soul, the son is our wandering self-image.
How does sin manifest itself when/if an individual does not forgive themselves? In Jesus’ story, there is no indication that the son forgave himself for his self-destructive choices. The likely consequence is that he carried a sense of guilt for receiving a homecoming celebration he believed he did not deserve. This is a natural response to our mainstream Christian belief that our spiritual journey is about perfecting the self-image, saving it from the consequences of its missed marks. The spiritual journey, however, is not about perfecting the self-image; it is about recognizing the eternal purity of the soul. I am not my ever-changing self-image. I am the eternally changeless image and likeness of God. It is in our quiet times of inner stillness that this truth is revealed to us.
When Jesus spoke of a new birth, he was talking about changing our self-defining focus from the self-image to the soul. The quality of our overall experience is determined by how we define ourselves. The human being does indeed have to power to forgive sin. That power is the simple recognition of the spiritual purity of the soul.