The topic of forgiveness comes up quite a bit in my office. I’ve found that when people begin to discuss something they are finding it difficult to forgive, they take on a sense of entitlement about the issue – as if they (as the “wronged”) have the right to determine whether the other person should be let off the hook or to dictate what that person is allowed to do-or not do.
I found this passage in a little book titled, LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR:
Forgiveness does not mean assuming a position of superiority and putting up with or tolerating behavior in another person that we do not like. Forgiveness means correcting our misperception that the other person harmed us.
The unforgiving mind, contrasted with the forgiving mind, is confused, afraid and full of fear. It is certain of the interpretation it places on its perceptions of others. It is certain of the justification of its anger and the correctness of its condemning judgment. The unforgiving mind rigidly sees the past and future as the same and is resistant to change. It does not want the future to be different from the past. The unforgiving mind sees itself as innocent and others as guilty. It thrives on conflict and on being right, and it sees inner peace as its enemy. It perceives everything as separate.
Whenever I see someone else as guilty, I am reinforcing my own sense of guilt and unworthiness. I cannot forgive myself unless I am willing to forgive others. It does not matter what I think anyone has done to me in the past or what I think I may have done. Only through forgiveness can my release from guilt and fear be complete.