Who Receives Forgiveness? The One Who Forgives.
Today I want to talk about forgiveness. It is such an important part of the human experience. We will all get hurt from time to time. We will all feel betrayed sooner or later. We cannot expect everyone in the world to do exactly what we expect them to do at all times. Sometimes they miss the mark so dramatically it leaves us feeling hurt in some way. We suffer inside with that agonizing feeling that we just don’t matter to them as much as we’d thought. Every time we are hurt by someone it is because we care about them, and we feel that care has not been returned. I believe this is even true between complete strangers. The care that we all extend toward each other, and expect returned, is called ‘common courtesy’ or ‘respect’.
Sometimes we overstep our bounds with people. Selfishly acting with little regard for their feelings, and running a good risk of hurting them along the way. This is why, as human beings, we should always consider the feelings of our family, our friends, and our neighbors. We are, after all, in this thing together.
Understanding how people come to get hurt is only the first step in unraveling the art of forgiveness. We must also consider how we cause hurt as well. No matter how conscientious we are around someone there will come a time when we either overlook or are not informed about the feelings and thoughts of that person. Inevitably we will all hurt someone, and be hurt by someone as well. No matter how considerate we are- no matter how observant we try to be, we can never be sure we can keep from hurting someone or being hurt ourselves.
The inner life we live takes place on a vibrant and dynamic landscape where no one else has ever been, not exactly at least. The memories and experiences of our lives form the peaks and valleys, the barren deserts and lush plains, the dark forests and mountain plateaus that we meander through in our minds eye. This internal landscape is unbeknownst to our fellow man. Our moods will change and our sensitivity along with it. Our attitudes are affected by this inner life. Everything we think and feel, or say and do, can be altered by what is going on inside of us. No one can see what that is. We will hurt each other from time to time. It is unavoidable.
Each person also moves through the world largely on their own. We spend each day in our own routine, with the same faces coming and going as the day unravels. We see different people for an hour here or a few hours there, only to move on to our next scheduled task. Your friends and family, your coworkers and acquaintances, all have a different understanding of who you are and what matters to you. It is easy to be hurt if you expect others to be more considerate of your feelings than the information they have about you allows. Our expectations play a large part in our suffering.
Some people can be downright nasty, running about intentionally acting selfish without being considerate of others. Some people try their best and fall short. Usually though, they do not set out to intentionally hurt you- and this is the key to forgiveness. That person who runs around acting inconsiderate is not thinking about hurting you, they’re not thinking about anyone but themselves. The insult, disrespect, inconsiderate actions of those around us are quite often the result of a selfish focus that excludes us.
I have learned to simply forgive. I cannot expect everyone to be considerate toward me at all times, but when they are I recognize it for what it is; a heart that reflects the empathy and compassion that this world needs more of. I hold them closer than before and in time I find myself surrounded by a wonderful network of supportive and caring friends. Forgive freely and let go. You deserve it. Stop carrying around the negativity that holds your focus hostage. Instead focus on those who shine the light of compassion and love on you.
As usual, thanks for stopping by!
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