Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Forgiveness is the highest form of love

For the next few weeks I will be writing about different aspects of forgiveness and the forgiveness process. This writing is an elaboration on the paperback edition of “Finding Forgiveness: A 7 Step Program for Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness,” which has just come out this month. I encourage you to join in on the conversation and share your thoughts, insights and experiences which can help all of us reflect more deeply on the meaning of forgiveness.

Very often when I teach about forgiveness I am always amazed at how many different interpretations there are concerning the meaning of forgiveness. This confusion points to the complexities of forgiveness, a misunderstood process that frequently hides in robes of morality, self-righteousness, and woundedness.

Forgiveness is a voluntary act in which a person makes a decision, a choice, about how he or she will deal with an event concerning the past. It is a process that shows us how to heal emotional pain by choosing to see the person who caused the pain differently. Forgiveness is about changing the way we think about ourselves and the way we see the world. Its transformational power moves us from being helpless victims of our circumstances to powerful co-creators of our reality. Forgiveness is an essential part of our healing, enabling us to release our anger, pain and suffering. As we learn to forgive and heal our emotional pain, we begin to experience the gift of inner peace.

Forgiveness is a radical way of living that openly contradicts the most common beliefs of this troubled world. It is radical because it involves a transformation of our thinking from thoughts of “an eye for an eye” to compassion and understanding. Forgiveness is the science of the heart, a discipline of discovering all the ways of being that will extend your love to the world and discarding all the ways that do not.

Paul Tillich wrote that forgiveness is the divine answer to our existence. It restores our hearts to the innocence that we once knew – an innocence that allows us the freedom to love. Ultimately forgiveness is the highest form of love.


Mimi Meredith said...

what powerful words, Eileen. I wish the whole world could read this. I'll see what I can to help!

Dr. Eileen Borris said...

You are such a dear heart. I really want to get this message out. If people only knew about the power of forgiveness it would be liberating and there would be so much more love in this world! Thank-you so much.

Beth Terry said...

Eileen - beautiful. I like that description -- "robes of morality, self-righteousness, and woundedness." We humans are so proud of our wounds that we want to hold onto them even when the letting go would heal us and make us happy. I'm enjoying reading your very wise words. Always a wonderful reminder to be present and let go of the past. Thank you,

Dr. Eileen Borris said...

Beth, unfortunately it is our natural tendency to want to play victim, to say poor me, look what you have done to me and point to our wounds. What we may not realize is that when we take responsibility for ourselves and our emotional lives we not only empower ourselves, we also heal our guilt. It is in healing our guilt that we pave the way to our true identity, the spirtual essence of who we truly are.

G said...

To quote A Pope, "to forgive is divine". No wonder, as you say, forgiveness is the highest form of love. I think, if anyone practices such true love, he or she is close to being divine.
thank you