Forgiveness is the key to inner peace, as it is a technique that transforms our thoughts from fear to love. Our perception of other people often degenerates into a battle between the ego’s desire to judge and the Holy Spirit’s desire to accept people as they are. The ego is always critical. It always finds the faults in ourselves and others. The Holy Spirit always sees that we are innocent. The fact that we sometimes stray from love does not mean that we are guilty, but that we are hurt.
Forgiveness is ” selective remembering” —a conscious decision to focus on love and let go of everything else. But the ego is ruthless. It comes up with very clever and sly arguments to persuade us to banish other people from our hearts.
To be right or to be happy?
It’s easy to forgive people who haven’t done anything to piss us off, but the people who piss us off are our most important teachers. They show us the limits of our capacity to forgive.
The decision to let go of our resentment towards other people is the decision to see ourselves as we really are, because if for some reason we can’t see that other people are perfect, we can’t see our own perfection either. .
It can be very difficult to let go of the view that someone is guilty when you are convinced that someone has done something that is absolutely unacceptable and that goes against all your norms and values. A Course in Miracles asks us:
” Would you rather be right or be happy?”
If you judge a brother, you are wrong, even if you are right. There have been times in my life when I had a very hard time giving up my judgment of someone. I rebelled against that inside: ‘I’m right, I’m sure of that.’ I thought letting go of judgment meant approving the other person’s behavior. I thought: someone will have to remain principled.
If we continue to forgive, all norms and values disappear! Pointing the finger at someone doesn’t help them change. When we declare someone guilty, we only make it harder for them to let go of guilt. Literally or figuratively pointing the finger at someone doesn’t help us correct their behavior.
When we approach someone with compassion and forgiveness, they are much more likely to come to their senses. People are less likely to be defensive and more open to correction. Usually we know when we are doing something wrong and we would do it differently if we knew how. At such times it is better not to attack: we need help and not struggle. When we forgive, we create a new context, a context in which it becomes easier for someone to change.
Making the decision to see people as they are now
Forgiveness is making the decision to see people as they are now . When we are angry at someone, we are angry about something they said or did before that moment, but a person’s identity is not defined by his statements or actions. Relationships are renewed when we let go of our ideas about our brother’s past. “If we project the past onto the present, we create a future exactly like the past.” When we let go of the past, we give way to miracles.