The first component of spiritual health is peace and joy, the second component is kindness, and the third component contributes to the first two which is forgiveness.
Forgiveness means different things to different people and its meanings change depending on context. There are band-aid apologies which are used for appeasement and submission, and there are genuine apologies expressing regret and remorse. When it comes to spiritual health, the meaning of forgiveness is a rising above, a turning the other cheek as Jesus suggested, and moving on not getting caught up in attempts to rectify injustice in a vengeful or self righteous way attempting to regain a sense of justice of reciprocity or even domination and superiority..
The rising above the hurt, the injustice, the abuse is a willingness to give up making other people and circumstances responsible for one’s own unhappiness. A person’s happiness or unhappiness is a choice one can make. Does the person want to see themselves and act like a victim or see themselves as a beloved child of God whose natural inheritance is happiness and abundant joy?
As Jesus was tortured and crucified He never played the victim except at the end when He exclaims, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?,” but then as He dies He says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and “into your hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus in the end willingly gives up His ego, forgives, and merges with the non dualistic Oneness from which He emerged when He was incarnated here on Earth.
Gary Renard, the teacher of A Course In Miracles, points out that we all have tens if not hundreds of what he calls “forgiveness opportunities” every day. How will I respond to this injustice in this situation? Do I want to play the victim with self righteous indignation or rise above it and go about my business?
This type of forgiveness is not about ignoring or avoidance but rather about recognition, acknowledgement and a conscious decision whether to respond from the ego or from the Spirit. We always have this choice although we often don’t realize that we do. Awareness of the forgiveness opportunities gives us a choice. Spiritually healthy people usually choose to forgive.
Over the last few weeks or month what percentage of the time have you risen above injustice and not made it responsible for your unhappiness and allowed this sense of unhappiness to deprive you of a sense of well being? What could you do in the coming month to recognize forgiveness opportunities and choose to utilize them to rise above the temptation to play the victim?