He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass. ~Lord Herbert
Before we can begin to examine the necessity for an act of forgiveness, it is important to understand the condition that makes its’ need necessary. In other words, what must happen to us that would require the need for forgiveness? One way to think of this is that if one were to assume that forgiveness is a healing agent than one must assume that an emotional injury is present. It is possible that at times these injuries or wounds are self- inflicted and at other times that others are responsible for what has taken place. Examples of self-inflicted wounds would be those where one has brought pain and suffering to oneself, such as those associated with various types of addictions. The wound is opened when one makes choices to hurt oneself. However, it must be highlighted that it is always relational (i.e. relation to self, world or other) and never in complete isolation that choices are made. While seemingly selfish choices are meant to hurt no one other than the self, it is in the ripple effect that one affects others. One’s own or the results of other’s choices that bring about emotional tears in one’s life demand the necessity for forgiveness as a way to facilitate healing and growth.
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Forgiveness is not part of the ordinary everydayness that one typically experiences. In fact, it would appear that we have lost our way to the path of forgiveness in life if indeed one ever knew where it was to begin with. Rather than living our lives with an attitude toward compassion and forgiveness; we have instead replaced this fundamental healthy way of being with Hammurabi’s code of an eye for eye, also known as the law of retribution, maybe a better name for the law would be that of resentment. We must exact vengeance upon those who have done us wrong - thus, part of what cloud’s one’s ability to forgive is a belief in the entitlement of judgment, that is judgment toward others and worst of all against oneself. It could be argued that forgiveness was never available to the ordinary person and that it must be sought out in the land of the holy, the place of the sacred. However, from a spiritual perspective, forgiveness was never meant to be that way i.e. completely unavailable to the individual.