It seems to me that society needs a new “F” word. Instead of the anger, frustration, judgment, and hatred inherent in expressions of “F- you!” or “F- them” or “F- that,” consider the feeling of love and understanding expressed in “I forgive you.” Our world needs a whole lot more love and understanding… and a whole lot less of the emotions that underpin the other “F” word.
What does it mean to forgive? Early in my journey of self-growth, I came to the understanding that forgiveness allowed me to go on without the heavy load of bitterness and anger weighing me down. Forgiveness allowed me to move on without dragging the past with me. As I study the Course in Miracles, I am coming to understand forgiveness in another way… a way that I believe to be much more loving than my earlier understanding, which was much more “me” oriented.
Forgiving another means understanding that when we live under the crazed dictates of egoic thinking, we make errors in perception. We operate within a “get them before they get you” world, a world of separation and individualism. We do our best to survive and succeed in a world based on competition; we strive to reach levels of power and prestige that mean we have to outdo someone else. We worry that someone else will try to “get” what we have accomplished and accumulated, and we think we need to defend what we believe to be ours. Within this framework, people lash out at us and hurt us. We do the same to others believing that we are right to judge others and that they deserve our anger and, if at all possible, retribution. Isn’t that what the concept of sin is all about? Isn’t it about judging someone as “bad” and believing that punishment must follow so that another can atone for his/her sins?
We believe this because we live within a world created by ego and, therefore of, misperception. This belief is not what is truth. What is truth? We are all God’s children, and we are all created from God’s boundless Love. As Divine extensions of God, we are unconditional, eternal Love at our cores. We are all created from the same loving energy, and therefore, we are all brothers and sisters, connected by the energy that vibrates within us and flows between us. We are loving spiritual beings who have lost our way, believing that we could separate from God. We have lost sight of what is true and meaningful, as we allowed ourselves to be misinformed and misdirected by ego.
When we understand that we have accepted the misguided beliefs of ego and lived our lives according to that which is not truth, what can it be when someone acts against us in a way that hurts us? It is an error in perception. It is not because he or she is bad or evil. As God’s children, no one is inherently bad or sinful. At our very essence, we are Divine expressions of God’s Love. Can our true identities be covered up? Oh yes. We witness the “cover-up” every day of our lives in this physical existence. We witness people, ourselves included, committing very unloving acts against one another. It is important to remember that even though our inner spirits can be covered by the muck of existence and we can attack one another believing that we are separate beings, the essence of who we are as God’s children is never gone. God’s Love waits quietly for us to remember who we are, and when we do, that Love is there within us… where it has been all along.
What I have grown to understand is that we make errors of perception, and in those errors, we believe that others do us wrong. We believe that we need to lash out to protect ourselves and all that we have created. Others believe the same thing, and in doing so, we can experience hurt. We can feel “done wrong.” When we understand that these actions originated from errors in perception, we realize that we need to forgive… again and again and again… until we truly understand and recognize that all the wrongs and hurts that we have experienced and believe we have suffered because of others are really just errors in thinking. At the core of who we are, we are brothers and sisters created from the same Divine energy.
It is only when we think we are merely physical beings that we perceive that we are separate and that others can act against us. When we understand that we are all spiritual beings inhabiting physical bodies, we can begin to truly see what connects and binds us all as One. We can begin to understand the truth of who we are, and we can forgive the misperceptions that confused us.
May the world be inundated with the new “F” word — forgiveness. That will mean love and understanding for all, and that, my friends, will create a truly beautiful world.