Ah, holidays and family! A perfect combination that can bring up lots of challenges for many people. Whether you have great family relations or not, today's topic is a biggie. We're talking about forgiveness. Not just forgiveness of acts, but pulling out the pesky weeds of our thoughts and desires that cause harm to us and to others.
We have two wonderful resources that we're bringing together for this one - the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ about forgiveness, and the chapter The Law of Forgiveness from Working with the Law by Raymond Holliwell.
Think a little bit about your family relationships that you have and how much difficulty there is or how much love there is within those relationships. And if there are any things that perhaps you need to repair or heal within those relationships?
An additional thing for you to think about is where you have physical dis-ease or emotional or mental disease of some sort that needs healing. Wrong thoughts will eventually manifest as dis-ease in our bodies.
Keep these things in mind as you read - your family relationships and any disease you have.
Watch the video, or read on!
Forgiveness isn't just for actions
When we initially think about forgiveness, we think about actions or acts that we have done to others that have caused them hurt or harm or things that other people have done unto us that have caused us hurt and harm.
These are the clear obvious things that require forgiveness, and forgiveness is not necessarily easy. We're going to kind of set that idea aside of how easy or difficult it may be, and stick with the idea that forgiveness is necessary for you to experience the health and the healing and the love that you desire in your life.
When we think of forgiveness, we normally think of actions that have been committed against us or that we have committed against others.
But as Holliwell talks about in his book, and as Christ talks about, it's not necessarily all of the acts that you have to be so concerned about. It's the thoughts that proceed those acts and the desires within your heart. We read that, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
You become what we think about. So if you have thoughts or desires in your heart for things that go against the law, then these are things that require forgiveness.
If you harbor and idea of jealousy towards someone, or of anger towards someone, then these are things that require repentance because you are breaking the law. And even if those things never become actions, ultimately it is the thoughts that you repeatedly think about and give your attention to that will come into being in your life.
If you think about your relationships with your family members, consider where there might be some discord with a particular person. And maybe you're waiting for the other person to step forward and to apologize or to make some sort of change. But as long as you harbor those thoughts of discord, you are in need of forgiveness.
Disease is a sign that you need to forgive
Thoughts of lack of harmony, of lack of love with your family members, or with any other people, create separation and distance. And ultimately those thoughts will manifest in some way in your body as some sort of physical disease or discomfort or problem that you're having.
If your heart and your mind are full of purity and of love, and of good thoughts and desires, your body will reflect that.
Your experiences and your circumstances and your interactions will also be positive if your heart and mind are full of positive thoughts and desires.
But if your thoughts and heart are full of desires that create contention, that think about a sense of lack or of fighting with somebody else, or separation from somebody else, then those thoughts will manifest in your physical body to create dis-ease on some sort of level.
So for forgiveness, take a look at your relationships and take a look at your physical health and see where there might be some things that are out of balance.
Now it's not about fighting against the ideas that you have. It's about completely getting rid of them and replacing them with new ones.
If you use the garden analogy, you want to think about planting your flowers and your vegetables and the weeds that crop up to overtake those things. The weeds are those thoughts that you need forgiveness for, and you want to plant the flowers, the beautiful things, the vegetables, whatever it is that produces a good harvest in the garden of your mind.
Forgiveness is removing the roots
If you have a weed in our garden, ultimately you need to dig up the weed at the root. If you find a weed in your yard and you just mow it, you cut it down, what does it do?
It grows back again, right? It's the same idea if you harbor a thought for something, but you don't act upon it. The thought is still there. And the thought is the root that leads that you need to grow to eventually, someday become an action.
Just like the weeds have to be completely pulled out at the root, in the same way for forgiveness to be complete within us, you can't just refrain from an action that is not good, you also need to ultimately stop harboring those thoughts and desires within yourself.
Holliwell gives a wonderful example in his chapter. He talks about a man who has an alcohol addiction and he has the desire to quit drinking the alcohol. Of course, he struggles with this and so he gives it up for awhile, and then he might go back and give it up and go back. And ultimately he gets to the point where he is able to stop drinking.
He has forsaken the action. And it might be easy being on the outside to look at that and say, wonderful, he has repented of that sin, and now he is forgiven. But as long as he still has the desire and the thoughts of wanting to drink the alcohol, the process of being in accord with the laws is not yet complete.
So our desires for things that do not create more harmony or more joy within us or in the world have to be completely rooted out and replaced by new ones.
Be the first to forgive
So here's my challenge to you as you go into this holiday season. Again, look at your family relationships and look at your physical body and think about where forgiveness might be necessary to bring about healing in your life.
And I'm going to challenge you, if you have a relationship with someone that needs some mending, to take the first step, be the one to start changing your actions and your thoughts toward that other person.
Instead of thinking about all the wrongs that they have done to you, and how they owe you an apology, how they are the ones who need to change, turn it around. Think about the idea of letting it go, of forgiving them and of changing the way you think about them. It is not a simple, straightforward thing in most cases that happens instantaneously. It's like the story of the alcoholic who wanted to quit drinking.
You have to have the desire for forgiveness and repentance.
Once you have the desire there, you work on the process of changing your thoughts, the root cause, and changing your actions, which is like the greenery that's growing up above the ground.
So repent of the actions and also repent of the thoughts and the desires that lead to those actions to come into being. And when those desires are completely gone from yourself, then you know that forgiveness and repentance have completely taken their course.
And now you are in full accord and harmony with the law, whatever particular law it may be. But you will start to see changes in your life, in your relationships, in the outward things and also you will feel more and more changes within which will then continue to bring more and more goodness in your actions and in the outward aspect of your life.
Practice changing yourself and offering forgiveness so you can have happiness, joy and love in your life.
Putting the Law of Forgiveness into action
- What have you done that has hurt others? What have others done that has hurt you?
- How can you change your thoughts toward that other person, and toward yourself, to allow feelings of forgiveness and love?
- Look at whatever physical disease you may have, and see if you can find the underlying thoughts that need forgiving.
How has practicing forgiveness changed your health and your relationships?