The Connection Between Forgiveness & Judgment
In January, when I started My Self-Love Journey, I also began reading the book A Course in Miracles. The “aim” of “the course” is “removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence…” In other words, Love is always there, it’s just that life experiences made it difficult to tune in to Love.
In Part II of A Course in Miracles, there is periodically a theme for the daily lessons. Last week the theme was, “What is Forgiveness?” Each day the reader is challenged to read this single page on forgiveness along with the lesson for the day. Much has been written about forgiveness. In fact, I “Googled” forgiveness and the result was over 258,000,000 hits!
Today, I’d like to offer my thoughts about forgiveness based on what I have read this week in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and what I have learned personally.
ACIM says, “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin.” The word sin in the course refers to a mistake or error and forgiveness means no sin or error has been made.
In other words, there is no error or mistake unless we perceive there to be one. If we do not believe an error has been made, there is no need for forgiveness in the first place. The Oxford Dictionary online defines perception as “the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.” It is our thoughts that create our understanding or perception. When we regard, understand or interpret, we are thinking.
ACIM goes on to say, “An unforgiving thought is one which makes a judgment…” there is the connection. Reflect on a person or situation where you feel you cannot forgive someone for something they did. If you look closely at the incident, there is judgment at the core of the problem. They judged you, then you judged them, or vice versa. Either way, you will see judgment.
The course also says, “An unforgiving thought…pursues its goal, twisting and overturning what it sees as interfering with its chosen path.” Think about that for a minute (or two).
That judgmental thought about what someone said or didn’t say, or what someone did or didn’t do, tumbles over and over in our mind. We find it difficult to not think about the event or how we were “wronged.” Sometimes these thoughts stay with us for a very long time because we never imagined or knew that it is within ourselves to forgive, let it go, or see that “there was no sin.” Friends or family members may go decades without ever speaking simply because of judgments that were made.
When we are in the experience of judging our perceived offender, it is difficult to see our own role in the situation. It’s hard to see that said offender most likely has gone on with his or her life without giving another thought to the incident at hand. In other words, they have no idea you are still suffering from the perceived error.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Yeah but you don’t know what so-and-so did to me.” And you’re right! I don’t know. But the truth is it doesn’t matter what so-and-so did if YOU are the one still suffering. Every time you bring that memory or that grudge into the present, you suffer. You suffer with anger, resentment, maybe even with hate.
So, how do we begin to heal from these thoughts and emotions that cause us to suffer? Stay tuned till next week and we’ll look at that.
Until then, take some time this week to think about the people in your life. Is there someone who you are holding resentment or anger toward? Consider the error or mistake they made against you. How does it make you feel when you think about that? Are you ready to stop feeling that way? If you are, be sure to look for my article next week.
With Love & Gratitude,