THE NATURE OF FORGIVENESS
Photo courtesy of Fernando Brasil
"Forgiveness consists of freeing yourself from the venom of the snake's bite; feeling that it is no longer in your system, that it no longer paralyzes you. It does not in any way mean letting the snake enter your home"
What, exactly, are people referring to when they talk about forgiving? Some say forgive and forget, but is it the same? Absolutely not. Forgiving has to do with releasing the person who hurt you from the burden of guilt and releasing yourself from resentment. The premise of forgetting is not only illogical, unnatural, and counterintuitive; but a great fallacy; of those popular lies repeated a thousand times. Whoever says they have “forgotten the damage received” only pretends to sound magnanimous and elevated by alluding to a misconception of spirituality. They are surely fooling themselves and most likely haven't even actually forgiven. Forgiveness consists of freeing yourself from the venom of the snake's bite; feeling that it is no longer in your system, that it no longer paralyzes you, does not in any way mean letting the viper into your house. Forgiveness is not forgetting that it is dangerous. Forgiveness is understanding the nature of the snake; understanding that her instinct prompts her to bite and move away from her, remembering the valuable lesson, and allowing each one to follow their path. A clean slate is a terrible and universal fallacy regarding forgiveness. There cannot be a clean slate; it is a principle that denies spiritual laws, as every action has a consequence.
"Forgive, let go and REMEMBER THE LESSON or you will have to repeat it"
Thus, there may be forgiveness in the process of releasing pain, but confusing it with forgetting denies the possibility of learning. If you know that this or that person has the potential to harm you and you do not take steps to protect yourself, you are opening the door for the experience to be repeated. Let's not confuse universal fallacies with true wisdom, there are many false beliefs that complicate actual spiritual development, and one of them is to define forgiveness and forgetting as the same phenomenon. The Jewish people constantly remember the Holocaust, the expulsion from Spain, and the pogroms in Eastern Europe, does this mean that they necessarily harbor the crudest transgenerational resentment towards their oppressors and that they have not forgiven? Or is it that the preservation of historical memory teaches the new generations the horrors of the past and how to avoid their repetition? Definitely, it is not honest, healthy, and much less realistic to forget the experiences that we have lived. What is really edifying is to remove the power they have to enslave us and prevent us from living in peace. Honesty with oneself leads to true forgiveness and, over time, to genuine reconciliation, if there is room for it, because ultimately, not all damage is repairable, and not all people must necessarily have a place in your life. This does not imply the existence of resentment, but the end of a cycle, and that is also part of the journey. The moral foundation of what is acceptable and what is not is ultimately defined by you, not by tradition, pseudo-spirituality, or by the people around you who seek to impose their scale of values, only you. Free your mind from preconceived notions. Closing the door, and saying enough is enough doesn't make you a radical, it makes you loyal to yourself. If it doesn't feel right in your heart; then it is not. Forgive, let go and REMEMBER THE LESSON or you will have to repeat it.