This article was originally published in the New Day Herald in 2012.
Most of us perceive that we have done some form of wrongdoing or made a mistake or an error at some time in our lives. There’s something about we humans on this planet that no matter what we do, we seem to find that eventually we come around to an error or a mistake. That’s rather universal in this world. You’ve probably heard it said, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” I think that knowing our divinity and ourselves as spiritual beings in this world has a whole lot to do with what forgiveness is all about.
For the word “forgiveness,” the dictionary notes two definitions. The first definition is “active pardoning someone for a mistake or wrongdoing.” Let me remind you that “active pardoning” would include yourself. So make sure if you’re dealing with forgiveness, you consider it an act of pardoning yourself for what is considered a mistake or wrongdoing.
What goes on in our learning and growing and in our human experience always comes back to our self. Somehow each experience begins and ends with our self. Whatever is in between, as far as whomever and whatever else is there, it’s going to ultimately be about you. Pardoning or forgiveness always includes an opportunity to forgive yourself.
The second definition for forgiveness is “a forgiving quality.” So forgiveness is a part of the action of forgiving. There are other qualities, but forgiveness is a particular quality, which is the tendency to forgive offenses readily and easily. Do you have the tendency to forgive offenses readily and easily? Consider whether you also have the tendency to forgive the offenders readily and easily. Do you have that as a commitment? Do you have that as a dedication or a willingness? Or is it by chance or something you wouldn’t consider doing?
I’ve heard the point of view that if we forgive an offender or an offense, we’re actually perpetuating it in some way. I consider it is a mistake; an error in itself, to assume that to forgive or pardon an offender is like teaching them to do that again. From my experience, if we don’t forgive, if we don’t pardon, that’s what perpetuates the offense. To be unforgiving is what can allow or encourage the error to occur again.
All of us in this world are learning to forgive. We’re here as human beings to learn to pardon. That’s a primary purpose in our life. God bless you if you haven’t come around to that yet, if you haven’t realized that you’re here to let go and let yourself out of the position of being the one who’s judging or making sure a condemnation is carried out. You’re here to learn to forgive yourself as well as others and all that happens in this world.
John-Roger wrote the book, Forgiveness: The Key to the Kingdom. What is that kingdom? The kingdom of God. There are other keys such as loving, joy, peace, and understanding. However, those keys are so related to forgiveness that if you forgive, you’ll be doing all the keys to the kingdom.
Imagine this — if you are willing to forgive and forgive completely all of the offenses, all of the errors and all of the mistakes, you would have a life of freedom. You would have the keys that go with access to the kingdom. You would be releasing yourself from the limitations, conditions, and all the challenges that go on in this world.
John-Roger said, “You must forgive yourself all things. You must have compassion for all people and the things they have done.” Perhaps you’re considering the idea that forgiving all people and things is a mistake. Some people might say, “I don’t need to forgive them. I need to point out to them the error of their ways. It’s my place to teach them how wrong they are or the ways they err.” Consider that true freedom involves letting go and forgiving all judgment.
Placing Judgments in the Light
It’s important to look at our judgments, whatever they may be, to hold them up and cast them into the Light. We can bring the Light into all judgments, particularly those that would register on the scale as the greatest judgments. Perhaps there’s one judgment that you consider to be the greatest judgment. Bring that one into the Light especially, and remember to always ask for the highest good.
Forgiving your judgments may not always be the first thing that comes to your mind. When you’re in the midst of your judgment, you may not immediately think, “I forgive that judgment.” Your willingness to respond to any judgment with “I forgive myself for judging” is a key to letting go and letting God.
Empathy and Compassion
I look at forgiveness as an aspect of the laws of spirit. John-Roger has identified that there are spiritual laws of acceptance, cooperation, understanding, enthusiasm, and empathy. Empathy relates directly to forgiveness. Compassion relates directly to forgiveness. When we experience compassion for ourselves and others and all things, we are in touch with forgiveness.
True compassion can be the empathy that forgives all. Our compassion, our empathy, automatically ushers us into forgiveness. We don’t hold judgment when we’re in empathy because we realize that “There but for the grace of God go I.” There’s something humbling about knowing our connection with people and things. It’s an understanding that if I judge you, I’m judging myself. Judging is an unnecessary restriction that places againstness.
It’s important to come to the realization that our mistakes, our errors, our encounters with evil if you will, whatever the negativity may be, are sufficient. It’s already enough. So there’s enough negativity, evil, errors, mistakes, sins, etcetera, such that we don’t need to add more. When we judge, we add to the negativity automatically. If nothing else, we add to our own negativity. Adding to the negativity equates to being or acting stupid because unnecessary burdens, pain, disturbance, anguish, suffering, restrictions, and so on, are created. More negativity is not necessary. We can choose to accept whatever is present and whatever has been done by choosing to bring forgiveness present. We can choose to express caring and loving regardless of the conditions that are present.
Maybe you feel you can’t always keep your thoughts clean, clear and upright. Perhaps you think you don’t know how to steer clear of judgment. I suggest you do know how by choosing to accept and be positive in your response. If you find you’re judging then have the wit to let go, to release yourself into the consciousness that is living love with and for all.
Have compassion for yourself. Choose to forgive yourself for having judged. That is a key to forgiveness.
Good for the Soul
In the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, we encourage looking at our judgments. That’s how we bring them into the Light. It’s like a form of confession. You’ve probably heard that confession is good for the soul. We practice the good for your soul part. There’s goodness for you as a spiritual being as well as your humanness to acknowledge, own up, admit, and speak to your judgments.
Judgment is often accompanied by wanting to hide, pretend, deny, or lie. Consider we all have a part of us who would want to deny our judgments. It’s part of our human experience. However, when we look at our judgments, we can also look at what is causing the judgments. In my experience the cause is clear; there is a core judgment that someone or something should be different than the way they are. When we understand that everything can be used for good purpose, including changing for the better, then there is no need to judge that anyone or anything should be different. We can use our choices to help make things better if nothing else within our own consciousness. It’s a waste of energy and time to hold judgment. We can choose to contribute to what can be better.
You may find that you resist looking at your judgments, that you avoid confrontation with your humanness and what you consider past errors or mistakes. You may even think that there are things that God does not know and that you can hide. Consider that there is no thing that God does not know. So God knows, always knows. However, we have salvation. God is love. The anointing of the Christ is forgiveness, peace, and harmony. Our divine nature is always forgiving. In the movement of the spiritual inner awareness we are calling upon the highest God – the God that knows all, loves all, and forgives all who seek the Light that is the Christ.
If you want to move into the divine, to know yourself more fully as the spiritual being that you are, then you’re going to be having a face-to-face confrontation with God. To see the face of God takes courage to face yourself in your entirety and in every detail. You’re called upon to rise up to any judgment that you carry, knowing the process of awakening and enlightening yourself is good for your soul’s learning and growth while you are in this world.
You may judge that you don’t have the courage to confront your judgments. You may consider that you’re not strong enough to confess what you really need to confess. Forgive yourself for your doubts, hesitation, or trepidations. Your process of confrontation is leading you to forgiveness. It’s not an exercise about judgment or increasing your judging of yourself. It’s an exercise in forgiveness and forgiving yourself especially. Our judgments stand in the way of forgiveness. Judgment keeps us from knowing and realizing the kingdom of God, which is full of love, grace, joy, and harmony and always available to those who love God and one another.
It’s important to look at what you’re judging or expecting of yourself. It’s probably going to be something in the area of “Shoulda, woulda, coulda.” You might be saying to yourself, “I should have done this. I could have been that. I would have been that if only. . .” Look at what didn’t occur such that you judged yourself.
When you’ve judged, regardless of how you judged somebody or something, it always leads back to you. You’re judging yourself. So have that realization, which means you, can skip judging the situation and just ask yourself, “What was I judging myself for or judging myself as?” If you don’t know how to do that, or you’re not yet aware of how you judged yourself, you can simply choose self-forgiveness by saying or writing, “I forgive myself for judging myself for ________” or “I forgive myself for judging myself as __________.”
When you judge someone else “for” or “as,” you’re actually judging yourself in that way. This is an important point — when you judge someone or something else, you’re actually doing it to yourself.
So you’re actually being very efficient when you move directly into self-forgiveness. You skip how you are judging others and move right into, “I forgive myself for judging myself,” however that fits and works for you. If you feel you’ve messed up or erred, and you say, “I could never forgive that,” you have just cursed yourself. As long as you won’t forgive, it’s going to hurt you or bother you. It’s going to compromise you. One day you’re going to forgive all. It might as well be today in this moment.
Forgiveness is the great healer. We receive blessing into the mind and the spirit when we say, “I forgive myself for judging…” So say it over and over and over. Have the intention to keep the mind in forgiveness. Strive to keep your consciousness and focus clear of judgment. Maintain a consciousness of forgiveness. Do your best to stay neutral and let go of judgments. Go into worship and present yourself before the Lord. “Help me let this go, Lord.” Keep calling on the Lord’s name because the Lord needs to come forth with your invitation.
There are parts of us that want to pull us away from our worship. Bodies can be attracted to things in the world, and emotions can emphasize the distractions. So how do we maintain a consciousness of neutrality and forgiveness? With our devotion.
Choose to take yourself into worship and go within your consciousness and away from focusing in the world. In MSIA, we call it spiritual exercise. Your judgments can be lifted from you in the grace that is forgiveness. You can choose to put yourself before the Lord and ask to receive of the blessings of forgiveness. God’s grace can be done.
Eternal vigilance is a password for forgiveness. In the book, Passage into Spirit, eternal vigilance is defined by John-Roger as “the constant state of awareness where no harm is meant or intended for anything.” So it really doesn’t matter what someone does or how they may judge you. It doesn’t even matter that perhaps you don’t want to forgive them. You can still choose to forgive. It comes back to, “I forgive myself for judging. . .” whatever it is that you hold as the judgment, even if that includes when the person is unwilling to forgive you. You could then say, “I forgive myself for judging that person for their unwillingness to forgive.”
Consider that someone who is unwilling to forgive you is actually reflecting to you your own unwillingness to forgive. Even if you consider that you’re always willing to forgive everyone, you can acknowledge that some part of you is still learning. You can take that humble step to place forgiveness into the unconscious level, accepting that you may not yet be aware of that part of you that holds onto judgment and resists moving into forgiveness. If you’re dealing with someone who finds you unforgiveable, you can choose to forgive anyway. You can choose to forgive any action that you took or that somebody else took. You can forgive it all. So if it’s an action, situation, or condition, material or biological, past, present or future, you can still forgive it all regardless.
You can forgive even when you don’t know how to put words on it. You can simply say, “I forgive myself.” If you think, “Well, I don’t believe it. I think that’s a lie,” then you can forgive that part of you who thinks that’s a lie. You can say, “I forgive myself for thinking it’s a lie that I forgive myself.”
Just keep the forgiving going, no matter what is thrown at you. That’s eternal vigilance. Even if you forget to forgive, keep choosing to bring your awareness to, “I forgive myself. I forgive my judgments. I forgive it all. I forgive.” The divine consciousness as the Christ loves all and forgives all. Forgive yourself, as God loves you unconditionally. Keep remembering the divine nature that is forgiveness — the key to the kingdom of God.
Prayer of Forgiveness
Dear Lord, we ask for Your blessing
We have come to You in forgiveness –
first of all, the forgiveness that You have issued
to all of your creation,
that You do love regardless of what is done,
regardless of the state of Your creation
as it moves through all the emanations,
all the forms, all of the precise moments.
You love unconditionally, and we come to You in this love.
We come to You in Your sound, in Your silence.
We simply come to You as we are,
in our own acceptance, in our own unconditionality.
We have let go of the judgments.
We have let go of any condemnation
that would hold negativity into our presence.
And we still do not know how to let go or surrender
For we hang onto our ignorance, our stupidity,
our rigidity and our karma,
that which we have done that is unnecessary.
We continue and we allow it to persist.
And we give thanks that You let us bring this to You.
And we ask for that presence that is the Lord,
the Lord of us all,
by whatever name it is called,
that Lord, the supreme, who is forgiveness.
We bring it to that one
that we may offer it up in our humbleness,
in our willingness to let go.
We find that what remains is our purity,
our clarity, that which is the true glamour,
that which is the brilliance, purity, the light.
And as we are willing to forgive ourselves,
we render this forgiveness unto others
as the love of the Lord that You bring to us
which unburdens us, that takes from us
that which is disease, anguish, condemnation,
that which is the wedge in our eye that would not
allow us to see.
So we now see clearly.
We behold the light and love
that is the Holy of Holies.
And we find ourselves upright.
We are whole. We are strong.
We are full of the vitality,
the life force that is the Spirit.
And we find that it is radiating to all.
We realize the simplicity of this moment,
the blessings that are always present.
We accept this commission, that is the way of the Lord, the anointed one.
We find that it is to love all regardless,
to forgive all regardless.
And we know when we have lost our way,
we are to forgive, we are to accept.
In this presence, we realize the contributions that You
are always making.
Every experience teaches.
Every moment offers an opportunity to gain,
to move past that which binds.
We breathe this in,
that it is radiated to every part of our being.
And we breathe it out,
that it is going freely to all.
And again we ask that You place into us this
consciousness that is awake,
that we may always know it.
And again realizing our humanity,
that we are bound to forget.
We are bound to lose track of our
and the divinity in all,
we accept Your forgiveness.
And we understand as we bring this forgiveness
it creates the greater capacity to go out.
And so we do.
Note: The above prayer appears in John’s book, You Are the Blessings and on the accompanying CD. In addition to You Are the Blessings, you may find of interest the following items that are available through the MSIA online store: Choosing the Divine Presence by John-Roger and John Morton that includes a rich compilation of John-Roger and John Morton excerpts leading us to our own Divine Presence and 24 moments of Divine Presence by John-Roger (1 DVD and 2CDs in English and Spanish); Calling Forward the Beloved by John-Roger available in MP3 and MP4 formats; and another book by John Morton: The Blessings Already Are.