“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others their trespasses.” Matthew 6:12
I remember when I first started to seriously forgive people with whom I had a difficult relationship. I thought forgiving them would end something. It didn’t. It started something (I wish I’d been warned). I thought forgiveness was a way to pull a bandaid off, revealing the healing wound underneath (warning: if you’re squeamish, this next part may be icky but it’s what I’ve got). But it was more like draining a cyst (I’ve done that a couple of times) and then the doctor packs the emptied hole and you have to keep getting that changed for up to a month while the wound heals from the bottom up, from the inside out.
That’s what forgiveness starts: A process of healing you from within yourself. Surprisingly little to do with the other person, actually. It’s not about justice or lack of; it’s about masochism. By forgiving the other person (or even yourself), you’re basically no longer hurting yourself. The other person already hurt you. They hurt you that time. You may or may not have gotten justice or an apology for that hurt. The thing is, it’s in the past, but every time you think about it and react to it. you hurt yourself. So instead of that other person having hurt you badly that time back in May of 2006, here you are, 13 years later, still seething about it. The other person doesn’t even know!
See how useless that is? See why forgiveness sets you free? Because that’s what it’s doing. It’s letting you off the hook, not the other person. It’s putting the past where it belongs: In the past.
I’ve mentioned ho’oponopono a few times. I come back to it because it is so easy. You don’t have to know what’s bothering you, you don’t have to know what’s stuck, you don’t have to know anything. These four deceptively simple sentences do a lot of work for you. Just keep repeating and repeating and repeating (in any order you want):
I love you
Please forgive me
Any time a thought that isn’t the most supportive crosses your mind, do ho’oponopono. (I really need to remember to take my own advice.) Or fudge and play Jasons Stephenson’s wonderful track on repeat (I go to sleep to this).
Just let your wounds heal.