instead of dwelling in your dreams
on his mistakes.
Select his thoughtfulness
to dream about
instead of counting up the
hurts he gave.
-- A Course In Miracles
Some might believe that we forgive others for THEIR sake. The truth is we forgive in order to get back our own equilibrium. We forgive for our own sake--for our own peace of mind.
If I choose to attack another person for what they did or did not do to me, I'm attacking myself--for what I think of others, I think of myself. I am the only one that has made that person guilty. It is pure illusion that the individual is, in fact, guilty and condemned. At this point, any attack thought I make is cause for my lost serenity. The reason I lose my balance is that the past (the hurtful act) is in the past, but I continue to pick at the pain, like a scab on my knee. Pick, pick, pick! It continues to worsen as I pay attention to it. Confucius said it bluntly, "To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it." And boy, do I! I make up elaborate stories to justify the guilt, the resentment, the anger and the disappointment. The story snowballs!
This is not to make light of the other individual's poor choices and actions. I can certainly be injured by stupid behavior and hateful acts. So what do I do? What do WE do? (I don't think I'm alone in this prisoners scenario, right?)
You know the answer. We both do: Forgive. It is the only way out of the pain and suffering.
I must detach from what the "perpetrator" supposedly did. The story needs a new ending. I must put my faith elsewhere...and that other place is love. In all honesty, isn't love what is required of us anyway? Condemnation doesn't build up anyone or anything. Nothing good can come from perpetual fear and condemnation. Now love...that is a different story entirely.
Now if you don't mind, I've got something I need to do. My hatchet needs a proper burial.