I grew up believing forgiveness was a benevolent gift you offered someone who had wronged you. You hurt me, but I’m willing to overlook it. So, I forgive you.
Of course, I realized that my version of forgiveness wasn’t really letting anything go. In fact, I wanted the other person to feel guilty for what they did, or at the very least realize their actions were not helpful. And I wanted to see myself as the “good guy” for taking the high road.
All of which does nothing but reinforce the original perceived slight and highlight the glaring differences between us.
True forgiveness has nothing to do with letting someone off the hook. In fact, true forgiveness acknowledges that nothing happened. There is nothing that needs to be forgiven. We had both chosen our wrong-minded ego thought system – which sees separation, differences, winners, losers, victims, and victimizers. All pain comes from choosing the ego. Forgiveness recognizes the mistaken choice in the mind we both made and reminds us that we can make a different choice.
I love this line from A Course in Miracles: “Forgive, and you will see this differently.”
By returning to our right mind of spirit, which is the definition of true forgiveness, we become a channel for love. And we see everything differently.