We have all experienced moments when we felt joyously and exuberantly free. Perhaps this feeling accompanied a particular success or achievement. Often it comes unexpectedly, for no apparent reason. … In this moment of freedom, our earthly worries and fears seem to suddenly fade into insignificance and a confidence arises, a sense that everything is possible. … Life is no longer finite. Instead, a great wave of magnanimity floods our being, a wave that rolls in on an ocean of generosity and compassion.
As we look at our complex and conflicted world, we might agree that the one most needed ingredient to bring forth universal peace and harmony is the attribute of forgiveness.
When we study the history of civilizations, we see that there are old resentments, old hatreds, old injustices, which continually stir the fires of revenge simmering somewhere in the human psyche.
There are religious feuds, ethnic feuds, family feuds—feuds that continue from generation to generation. The memories of past injustices roll down through the ages, and few people seem willing to forgive or forget.
So to heal our world, we human beings must learn the art of forgiveness. And the healing process must begin with us.
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 ...
The negative thoughts and feelings associated with the mental state of unforgiveness have deleterious effects upon our physical bodies. But we are not always aware that we are harboring unforgiving thoughts and feelings because many of them may be buried in the subconscious memory bank. … We can use a positive prayer technique that combines visualization of light in an affected body area with release of unforgiving thoughts and feelings.
I had visualized this happening time after time for years: I was behind the wheel of my car, stopped at an intersection. Then the very person who had ruined my life walked in front of my car. With a terror-stricken face, he turned to look at me, just as I hurled the car forward at full throttle.
Now—right before my eyes—my revenge fantasy was about to come true. Or was it? Something had happened that kept me from wanting revenge: I had forgiven him.
I signed up with a trash removal service that requires rural customers to mark their addresses on their garbage cans. I took a can of white spray paint and etched my street number on one of the brown rubber cans. I set the can in the back of my SUV, drove it to the end of my road, and left the garbage in the appropriate spot. When I returned to my garage, I was irked to notice that some of the white paint had rubbed off on the back of my seat; apparently, it had not fully dried on the can. But it did dry on my car. I tried to remove the paint, but by that time it was stuck fast.
Eric Butterworth was an ordained Unity minister and author of numerous articles and books. The following excerpt is from his book Unity: A Quest for Truth.
Unity is not simply a church to join or a creed to espouse. Unity is a study of religion as a science of living. It is an interpretation of the teachings of Jesus Christ with prime emphasis on practice. Obviously, it will hold no interest for those whose religion is a white cloak to be wrapped around them on Sunday morning and then tossed into the six-day closet of unconcern.