Endigar 807

From Courage to Change of March 15;

Before Al-Anon, forgiveness meant power to me. I could judge the offender — the person who wasn’t doing what I wanted — and then exercise my power by showing that I could rise above the offense and magnanimously bestow forgiveness. But I would never forget what had been done.

Today I know that forgiveness has nothing to do with power. It does not give me control. Forgiveness is simply a reminder that I am on equal footing with every other child of God. We all do good and noble things at times; on other occasions we may offend. I have no right to judge, punish, or absolve anyone. When I behave self-righteously, I’m the one who suffers — I separate myself from my fellow human beings, focus on others, and keep busy with hateful and negative thoughts. By taking this attitude I tell myself that I am a victim, so I remain a victim.  The most forgiving thing I can do is to remember that my job is not to judge others, but to think and behave in a way that lets me feel good.

Today’s Reminder

I don’t know the motives or circumstances that cause another’s behavior. I do know that when I hold onto resentment and blame, I occupy my spirit with bitterness. Today I will find a more nurturing way to fill myself up.

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.” ~ Booker T. Washington

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Internal festering resentments lower the quality of my life and threaten me with spiritual bankruptcy. This ultimately manifests in addictive relapse for me. This is the major motivator for me to practice forgiveness. There are noble philosophies that surround the act of morally releasing someone held captive in my mind’s prison, but this one reality anchors me to the practice. It is pragmatic and simple. Trying to wrap it all up into some idea of the equality of mankind, or the rewards of Karma, or the imitation of whatever God embraced is pretty packaging that invites intellectual debates. These debates are fuel for self-destructive justification. That is my reality.

If my mind’s fantastic ability to forget is not filtering out the trespasses of my internal courtroom, I add the practice of praying and seeking the betterment of the other person every time I fall into such soul-sucking rumination. I avoid situations that will open old wounds. These I do because I love my own life and want to give others I care about the permission to do the same.

There are some lyrics from Audioslave’s song, Exploder, that comes to my mind as I think of what happens when I struggle to forgive:

There was a man who had a face
That looked a lot like me
I saw him in the mirror and
I fought him in the street
And when he turned away
I shot him in the head
Then I came to realize
I had killed myself

This will not be me. The release I give my offenders is a mercy granted to myself. Live and let live.

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