I feel that forgiveness is an art. It is something that must be perfected and practiced to get better. No other way to practice forgiveness than with experiences of offense, neglect and hurt. Right? Right??????!!!! I heard a collective sigh in the atmosphere. I sighed myself.
But that is the beauty of it! Experiences should make us more skilled in an area because you have the opportunity to practice. I believe once you get better at something or master it, you no longer have to practice it. In essence, you no longer need the experiences. It just becomes a natural reaction to release and to forgive just like someone who has mastered a trade or a skill.
I’m learning how to play the guitar. When I’m playing with friends who are better than me (everyone’s better than me right now… I’m just learning), I need a little grace period to get adjusted. It takes me a few minutes to finger through the chords and to pick up the strum pattern, so on and so forth. After each experience, I realize that it doesn’t take me as long to find my fingering or to pick up the pace of the song. A master of an instrument doesn’t require that grace period that I need. He can just pick up the instrument and play skillfully with no real thinking involved. He just naturally does what he spent years conditioning himself to do. He can play beautifully under any condition.
After enough “experiences”, if you practice forgiveness correctly, you’ll be a master at releasing and letting go of offenses. I would even go as far to say that certain things won’t even offend you anymore! The experience won’t even be an experience… if that makes any sense.
Practicing forgiveness is a crucial element to your spiritual growth as well as your overall journey through life. Unforgiveness is a light dimmer and keeps you in the darkness. We weren’t physically made or built to carry burdens and offense and bitterness. It effects our bodies, our ability to see and think clearly, and our ability to do extraordinary things in the world. You can’t have a clear mind if you have to hold on to an offense. What a waste of beautiful mind space! There are so much better things you can be using your mind for than to harbor injuries!
I practice forgiveness by praying for a specific need for someone who has offended me. For instance, I would replace a prayer that I would have for myself to specifically pray for a need that they may be having in their own lives. I can do this (sometimes it is hard… I must admit) because I know that if someone has offended me, inadvertently or knowingly, they are just projecting their own fears onto me. They need to be released from their own mental anguish and delusions so they can live in the light of love. So, I pray for them. Praying for them helps me to release them and to return to an inner space of peace. As well, I genuinely want to see them happy. Cause only unhappy people hurt other people! It’s a win-win for everybody!
Maybe you have been hurt, rejected or offended in some way and you need to release that pain to make room in your heart for more love, joy and peace. The light side of an offense is that it gives you the opportunity to practice forgiveness. You should give it a try. I guarantee, you will feel lighter and your light will shine brighter.
Here are a couple clever articles on forgiveness: