Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Reflection on Forgiveness

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” ~ Lewis B. Smedes

A few days ago, someone sent me a short story about forgiveness which I would like to share. The author of the story is unknown to me, since the name was not included in the e-mail, but whoever wrote this piece truly hit the proverbial nail on the head.

“One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes. For every person we'd refused to forgive in our lives, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of our bags, as you can imagine, were quite heavy.

We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week, putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to our desk at work.

The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.

Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity.

Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and while that's true, it clearly is also a gift for ourselves. So the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself...Isn't MY bag heavy enough?”

Sad as it is, the struggle of forgiving is always harder when we feel we are the ones who need to be forgiven. We carry burdens which we consider embarrassing to reveal, and by keeping them concealed we further enable the putrefying process - what we keep sealed inside ourselves lurks within until it has total power over our thoughts and actions,

Lack of self-forgiveness is born from the ego-mind - and engineered through tainted points of perspective - to defy the flawless perception of our higher consciousness, while slowly eroding our sense of self-worth and our connection to others.

If God can forgive our transgressions, should we not give Him a little more credit and trust that it is okay to forgive ourselves?

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