I Willingly Forgive Others

By Rev. Jim Rosemergy
I Willingly Forgive Others

One of the great barriers to an experience of God's presence is lack of forgiveness. We justify our anger, and it becomes resentment, and if it is fed long enough by hurtful memories, thoughts of revenge and behavior, it grows into hatred, and a hate-filled soul cannot feel God's love. We may strike out at the other person, but our hands are around our own throat, restricting our ability to breathe peace and harmony into our world. We limit ourselves with our lack of forgiveness of others, but it is also possible to be unwilling to forgive ourselves ...

It is obvious that a lack of forgiveness affects our relationship with the one for whom we hold the anger, but few realize that unforgiveness is often at the foundation of why we have few truly powerful, harmonious relationships with other people. Anger, resentment and hatred, if present, affect our physical bodies and contribute to numerous physical ailments, and most devastating of all is that our lack of willingness to express love to others is a barrier to our relationship with God. No one has a healthy, loving relationship with God who is in conflict with his fellow human beings, and it is only through a divine partnership with God that the power of the One flows in its fullness into our lives.

God, of course, is not affected by our actions and resentments. Love is always love, but our resentment is an effective barrier to divine love. We hold a shield forged by our anger, and it is enough to blind us to our true relationship with God and God's creation.

We do not feel God's love for us because we are not expressing love to others. This is the message found in the Lord's Prayer: "And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors." On the surface, Jesus seems to say that if we are unforgiving, God will not forgive us, but this is not true. God, Love Itself, does not need to forgive. Forgiveness becomes necessary where there are feelings of anger, resentment or hatred. Hear the message again: our lack of forgiveness makes it impossible for us to feel the love of God that is perpetually showered upon us. God doesn't withhold love. We build a barrier that God honors. Spirit is true to Its loving nature. We are not true to ours …

Enemies Are of Our Household
Few of us have feelings toward another person that are so intense we call the individual our enemy, but perhaps we must expand our understanding of the nature of the "enemy." Jesus said that our enemies are of our own household. A literal view of his statement seems to indicate that he is referring to family members, and certainly there are conflicts in some households, but his insight is more far-reaching, for it touches all of us.

It is we who hold resentments, and therefore the work of forgiveness is ours to do. We may blame our feelings on another person, but feelings are not in the other individual or in the great divide between us; they are literally within us. They are of our household. The conflict is not between two people; the conflict is in us. We are at war with our true nature. There is no resolution to the conflict until peace reigns in our souls, and we are expressing our loving self. Forgiveness is then reduced to a simple idea; it is a return to love.

Returning to Love
Here is a three-step process that can help release love from within you. First, write a catharsis letter to the person you dislike. Get those feelings out so you can them, so you can feel them. Release the venom that has limited and poisoned your life, but don’t mail the letter! Write it, wait three days, reread it, and then ceremoniously burn it. I have known people who built a simple altar upon which to burn the letter.

Second, write a blessing letter for a newborn child. Bless this new citizen of our planet with all the wisdom, strength, creativity, goodness and joy you can imagine. Write the letter and then change the salutation to the name of the person who challenges you. Read the letter each morning and each night for 40 days. This practice prepares you for the third and final step.

Send an anonymous gift to the person who has been the object of you consternation. The individual must never know it came from you. This practice will transform you. When you share an anonymous gift, you activate the law of giving and receiving. The law must be fulfilled, but in this instance, no one can satisfy the law because no one knows you gave the gift. Therefore God must fulfill the law, and the only gift Spirit can give is Itself. The result is growth in consciousness. An awareness of God as love fills your being.

Through grace you have found your way home again; you have returned to love.

 

Jim Rosemergy is an ordained minister whose focus is spiritual awakening. He's a regular columnist for Unity Magazine and the author of 13 books, including Even Mystics Have Bills to Pay and The Gathering: A 40-Day Guide to the Power of Group and Personal Prayer. He is currently senior minister of Unity of Fort Myers, Florida.