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Understanding Forgiveness - Part 5

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Pardon Wrong Doers


This Weeks Video

Come on! As if loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, and doing good to those who hate you aren’t tough enough. Now I’m expected to pardon those who do me wrong? You’ve got to be kidding!!

It seems that the world is full of people who are doing ‘wrong’. Mass shootings, war, environmental abuse, sexual abuse, and the list goes on. So this facet of forgiveness expects me to pardon these people? Really?

Well, yes if you are wanting to achieve ‘enlightenment’. Yes if you are a reincarnationist, and want to stop the recycling. Yes if you are pursuing Christology, and want to be aligned with Christ consciousness. Yes if you are an atheist, and want peace as a sustainable way of life.

The key to successfully adopting this approach to forgiveness is in being able to seperate a person’s ‘wrong’ behaviour from the intrinsic spiritual essence of the person, or persons. This distinction is supported by the notion that all behaviour has only two motives, either a call for help, or is love extended. So how do you approach pardoning a wrong-doer?

Let’s start with differentiating ‘the wrong’ that was done as opposed to the person who committed the wrong. From the outset, the wrong that was committed isn’t pardoned. A society that has not developed love consciousness as an intrinsic way of life, requires rules with associated consequences to protect both the people’s, and the planet’s rights and safety. It’s appropriate that there is a judicial system, and policing that sustains the protection of these rights. Rules that are broken will have associated punishments. Wrong-doers, if found guilty of wrong doing, are expected to suffer the prescribed punishments for what they did.

The pardoning that is included in this act of forgiveness is about the person, and not their behaviour. Since their wrong-doing behaviour wasn’t an expression of love then it had to be a call for help. Their call for help is the outflowing of their undeveloped state of consciousness. In the majority of cases this manifests as a consequence of programming from their formative years, reflecting the Jesuit adage, “Give me a boy until he is seven, and I will give you the man.” Typically, childhood narratives are in one form or another a call for help, for example, the consequence of feeling unloveable, victimised, lacking security, and worthless, all of which produces suffering.

In the end it’s the survival strategies to find relief from the suffering that see us resort to drugs and alcohol, or any of the plethora of other addictions that exist. Or maybe becoming invisible (a hermit of sorts) or driven to be popular. Maybe it’s about surviving homelessness and poverty or its antithesis, needing to accumulate wealth. Whatever form our survival strategy takes, it becomes the catalyst of our suffering, it feeds our narrative, which typically motivates our wrong-doing, thus why there is the justification for it to be seen as a call for help. Therefore, boiled back to its core, the call for help arises from the seven-year-old.

It’s seeing the wounded-child’s call for help that justifies the wrong-doer being pardoned. The wrong-doer is the outward manifestation of the wounded child, and it’s the child that needs our love, just as much as the wrong-doer needs the punishment. And here lies the challenge. Is it possible to both love and punish a wrong-doer?

What would punishment look like if it was embedded in a consciousness of love? What would incarceration look like if its foundation was love-centred? Imagine if healing the narrative of the seven-year-old was intrinsic to the punishment process. It would seem that the word punishment would become redundant and replaced with a word like healing. Imagine being found guilty of being a wrong-doer and being sentenced to several years healing. That’s what it would look like in a world where wrong-doers were pardoned.

Let’s go a step further. Let’s say you have been the recipient of the actions of a wrong-doer. By adopting this pardoning approach to the wrong-doer, you can free yourself from the burden of judgement and the need for retribution. Yes, you would be entitled to compensation if that was possible. By taking the pardoning approach you are in the position of being able to sustain your inner-peace. Western mindfulness is remembering in each moment that you have the choice to be more loving to yourself, to others, and to the planet.

This means that anytime you are the recipient of wrong-doing you will first and foremost remember that you have the CHOICE to be loving. In other words, in understanding that their behaviour is a call for help, you can choose to pardon them, without having to pardon the behaviour. This approach to mindfulness places the emphasis on the ‘choice’. It’s important this choice is love motivated and less disciplined or forced. As long as you recall in each wrong-doing experience that you have the choice to pardon, you are building a ‘pardoning neural pathway’ for naturally pardoning. There will be a time, if you do this, that the pardoning response becomes your new habit.

Forgiveness is mandatory if you are serious about developing yourself spiritually. If you can’t love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pardon those who do you wrong, then you are still in Spirituality 101. (That’s not a judgement, it’s just a statement of fact!)

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