Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April 22--Must I?

Nothing but courage can guide life.  --Vauvenargues

     I would say that if we don't have courage, we don't have life. Living in fear is not life. Being too afraid to try is not life. We are alive because somewhere and somehow, we had the courage to choose to come into this magnificent earthly adventure.
     That said, today I'm going to take courage in the specific direction of forgiveness. Just the word "forgive" makes me slump my shoulders and think, "Must I?" Yes. Here's a stunning and powerful quote from Brigham Young:

He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool. 

     Our world today is infinitely full of offenses, no matter what one's beliefs and philosophical leanings may be. We can simply take offense and become disheartened, self-righteously angry or vengeful. That's the easy, albeit unpleasant, path. We don't have to look far to see this behavior, possibly just a glance in a mirror will illuminate it.
     Forgiveness, however, requires courage and consistent practice. Choosing to forgive is empowering. We take charge of how we want our inner world to be, selecting peace over animosity. A beloved spiritual mentor, Edwene Gaines, suggests the practice of a nightly review of anything or anyone from the day requiring one's forgiveness. Releasing those with love and blessing makes for much more restful sleep. 12-step programs also offer a practical means of forgiveness. One prays for the offender for 14 days, praying that he/she has all the blessings one would desire for oneself. It doesn't matter if one does not believe a word of the prayer. Doing this process for 14 days changes the person praying, and that's the whole point. Voila, forgiveness!
     Forgiving can seem like a huge effort these days. But I believe someone really well-known told us to forgive "seventy times seven." Let us have courage, my friends!

P.S. From Mike Dooley: The need to criticize belies a longing for recognition, appreciation, and validation. None of which, however, can be obtained through criticism.

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