Chapter 7: Freedom Through Forgiveness
An Excerpt from You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
Forgiveness is not a natural reaction for the ego-self. If the ego-self even considers forgiveness, it might do so saying that your brother deserves forgiveness because he was simply in an immature or insane state at the moment when the “infraction” or “error” occurred. The ego’s sense of forgiveness is to look upon your brother as insane or immature. By saying this, the ego is implying that the infraction or error is real; that there is something to forgive; and that somehow you are more or better than your brother – that you’re the “bigger person” because you can forgive. It is also saying that your brother is capable of insane or immature behavior, thus making insanity, immaturity and their consequences real. Even in forgiveness, the ego’s secret and silent goal is separation.
The Godself simply overlooks error because it knows that the child of God is not, nor ever could be immature or insane. It knows that the child of God is perfect because he comes from perfection. The Godself’s sense of forgiveness is that an insane brother or sister does not exist. The Godself simply overlooks insanity or error because it knows them as illusions, as unreal. The opposite of error is perfection, but if perfection is all, then error cannot be anything but an illusion. The Godself not only does not judge nor have a need to forgive error, it does not see the error because it can only see what is real. For the Godself, to forgive is to overlook, because it is only interested in seeing the truth in a brother or sister. Thus the whole idea of forgiveness (the key) itself is an illusion, because, in truth, there is not nor will there ever be anything (the door) to forgive. If truth or perfection needs forgiveness, then the only value forgiveness holds is to recognize that it is not needed.
You attach to the act of forgiveness whatever value it holds for you. Love your brothers and sisters for the truth in them; they are God’s creation. Disregard their errors, and all of your brothers’ errors are undone by seeing the truth in your brothers and accepting them as they were created.
Forgiveness is simply a step in the recognition that your brother and sister are perfect. You see in your brother what you believe about yourself. So by seeing him as perfect, you recall the perfection in yourself. By forgiving a brother or sister, you recognize that you too, can be forgiven, and this brings you a quiet and personal sense of peace.
In actuality, you never have to forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. This sounds strange. But the thought will be only as strange or as foreign as you allow it to be. Whenever I feel someone has done me wrong, I forgive quickly, thus releasing judgment and obtaining peace. Looking back, I can say that the ability to forgive someone offered me power over the illusion. But it was a power over nothing. I became good at forgiving, and it brought me peace. To forgive and release became an effective tool in my fight against illusions, in my fight against nothing.
To forgive nothingness, you simply need the understanding that it is nothing. Today, I know that there is nothing to fight against, nothing to ever forgive. My next step will be to not have to forgive people and to simply see the truth in them. To see the truth in all my brothers and sisters, regardless of what illusions they or I choose to value, seems like an interesting challenge. Then again, the challenge itself is but an illusion.
If an individual needs to hear the words “I forgive you” to feel better, or if I need to offer these words to feel closure, then I will offer them, but I will try to simply overlook the bothersome action from now on. This seems like a big step, yet I know that the step is only as big as I make it, and that in truth there is no step. To actually see the child of God as the child of God in every instance will bring total peace once you understand what it is you are truly doing. There is nothing easier than to see the child of God as the child of God. If you are open to this, you can be open to the idea that there is nothing easier than to be at peace. There is nothing easier than to be in your natural state.
Forgiveness is a very useful tool in obtaining peace. But it is just that – a tool. What tool would you ever need to offer what you already have? If you were able to perceive the truth in every moment, in every brother and sister, do you truly believe that a tool would be necessary to obtain peace of mind and joy? Truth simply is. Peace of mind and joy are always present in truth, because that is what it is. There will come a day when forgiveness will simply be seen as an unnecessary step in obtaining truth, in obtaining peace. Yet until that day comes, forgive and you will experience peace.
For author Corrie ten Boom, the ultimate lesson in forgiveness came at a very unexpected time. In her book “The Hiding Place,” she writes the following:
23 It was at a church in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain blanched face.
He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said. “To think that, as you say, ‘He has washed my sins away’!”
His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal on the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
I tried to smile; I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again, I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give him Your forgiveness.
As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.
23. Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, Copyright 1984 (Bantam Books).
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