Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Golden Rule and Forgiveness

After surviving the election season it is apparent to all of us the healing which needs to take place within our divided country. As I was thinking about this I began thinking about the Golden Rule that we hear so much about. The message is simple, "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us." Sounds simple and so often ignored.

As I was thinking about this I began to ask how is this related to forgiveness? What gets in our way of following the Golden Rule and to also forgive one another. In both cases in order for us to be the best people we possible can be we need to be willing to look within ourselves, understand what causes our pain which feeds into our anger and hatred towards others, and be willing to heal and learn from this.

Why am I linking these two concepts? We all have been hurt by neighbors be them next door or the next country. We ourselves can easily hurt others just by being inattentive or by being caught up in our own anger that we spew this out towards others not realizing that they too may be struggling not only with the everyday anxieties but with great sources of suffering. I think we have the Golden Rule to remind us of this. And we have forgiveness to help us become more compassionate, loving human beings.

This not only applies to how we deal with relationship difficulties, marriages, etc, it also applies to countries dealing with for example genocide such as Rwanda or Cambodia. People killing others such as in genocide are only thinking about their pain, their fears, and their needs. The thought of compassion is no where to be found. A suicide bomber is certainly not thinking about compassion when killing civilians.

As we can see the Golden Rule is simple and hard to follow. On a certain level forgiveness is also simple and yet very hard for us to do. The question is, "What are we willing to do to help us find strength to be more loving parents, spouses, brothers and sisters, friends and family members? And what are we willing to do to bring greater happiness into our lives?

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