I am writing this today on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I wasn’t planning on writing today. However, I feel compelled to take the opportunity to address one of the most important human qualities, that of forgiveness. For many of us, “forgiveness” is a difficult thing to do. As we reflect back on the great tragedy of 9/11, we know that it is wrong to destroy lives and inflict pain upon fellow humans. We know 9/11 to be a barbaric and tragic event in our history.
Even when it’s obvious that justice should be served, when we carry this unforgiveness with us, we are in fact enslaving ourselves. This hatred nods at us, often hurting us as much or greater than the actual cause of our suffering. When we have been hurt and angered, it can be extremely hard for us to set that anger aside and offer the gift of forgiveness. But deep in our hearts we know that only through forgiveness, can we release ourselves from the pain and find true inner peace, healing and freedom. Here are the three dimensions of forgiveness that we can practice:
1. Spiritual Forgiveness
The first dimension of forgiveness is spiritual. If you accept that God loves and forgives you and others, you must in turn, love and forgive. It is impossible to accept Gods love, without extending that love to others. There can not be any exceptions to this. Learn to live in the spirit of forgiveness.
2. Personal Forgiveness
With personal forgiveness, we make the effort to forgive those who have harmed us personally. It allows us to open communication with those in need of our forgiveness. This forgiveness restores our relationships, heals our friendships, and our hearts. It offers us emotional release and closure.
3. Social Forgiveness
Social forgiveness is offered across the world. It reaches out to other nations and other continents. Haven’t we learned that hatred only creates more hatred? The endless international conflicts and wars stem out of this anger and hatred. We as human beings, have a choice of learning to forgive one another and build peace that will assure our mutual survival.
Why is forgiveness important? Because even when you think that another does not deserve to be forgiven, remember that forgiveness liberates you. And this is the main reason why forgiveness is important to your health. Only after you have forgiven others, and released that negative emotional charge of hatred from your heart, will you have the opportunity for lasting peace and happiness in your life.
Live well. Vlad