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By Aba Gayle

What is Forgiveness? What does it mean? Why is this such a difficult concept?

First, I must establish that Forgiveness is a Process. There is no time frame. Each person will work through the process at his/her own pace. There is no magical saying or act that will produce instant results.

Students at a forgiveness workshop were asked to list words under the heading What Is Forgiveness? Here is a sampling of the words that came up:

Faith, unconditional love, guilt free, sinless, letting go, love, intention, willingness, choice, liberation, healing, trusting, fearless, release of guilt, grace, blooming of a seed, personal evolution, compassion, release of pain, turning it over, etc.

These same students listed the following words under The Shadow Side of Forgiveness:

Loss, despair, anger, distrust, hurt, revenge, betrayal, stuck in the past, frustration, grief, attack, defense, projection, attachment to results, spite, regret, hate, judgment, jealousy, no faith, control, shame, shattered dreams, etc.

What are some of the things you might encounter when you talk with others about forgiveness?

Again the students came up with a long list and I share a few:

They are guilty! An eye for an eye, abuse will continue, not making it real, canít ever trust again, attachment to status as victim, people must be punished, not willing to let go of pain, they must suffer, blame someone, someone has to pay, etc.

What are your "words" for forgiveness? What do you feel when someone talks about forgiveness? What I have noticed is that the words for the shadow side are about pain. The words about forgiveness are about healing and joy. If you have read or heard my story of forgiveness you will understand why I consider forgiveness to be a miracle. The following is a definition of a Miracle written my good friend Linda Garth.


Miracles are those moments...
When we forgive ourselves
And our brothers completely.
By doing so...
We defeat the power of our ego,
Allowing the Holy Spirit
To help us correct our misperception.
At that moment,
We hear the voice of God.
Time collapses...
We feel peace and love.
In His perfect light and truth,
We see differently.


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The Top 10 Misconceptions about Forgiveness

1.  Withholding forgiveness hurts the other person.
The truth is: Withholding forgiveness hurts yourself.

2.  Forgiveness is a passive endeavor.
The truth is: Forgiveness is a very active endeavor, where you can ultimately reach out in love and compassion to the other person.

3.  Forgiveness lets people off the hook, so they aren't accountable to their actions.
The truth is: Forgiveness and accountability are not the same topic. You can have both. Forgive another by offering empathy and unity; yet still uphold the process of accountability within the social structure.

4.  Forgiving someone tells that person that whatever he or she did was acceptable with you.
The truth is: Accepting their actions and accepting their true nature underneath it all are two very different things. You can make that clear.

5.  Forgiveness is for the other person.
The truth is: Forgiving another is an act we do for ourselves, to free ourselves from the pain or bitterness.

6.  When you are forgiving, you are "pardoning" someone's bad behavior.
The truth is: There is no "pardoning," just a clearer perception on who that other person truly is, and what they can still provide to your life, to a community and to a society.

7.  Forgiveness is done by saying the words "I forgive you."
The truth is: Forgiveness resides not only in words but also in thought, feeling and action.

8.  Forgiving another person doesn't do any good really.
The truth is: It not only uplifts you AND that person in ways unseen, but it brings that much more light to a world in need.

9.  Forgiveness is only for religious people.
The truth is: It's for all of us walking the planet.

10.  It's too hard to forgive.
The truth is: It can be hard, but not too hard, not when you have the right support and perspective.

The above ten misconceptions were written by my friend Azim Khamisa. His story and website can be found here: AzimKhamisa.com or TKF.org.


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Forgiveness strengthens our healthy self-esteem and frees us from our past.

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Hanging onto anger brings consequences other than the physical. We extend enormous energy on our anger. Think of someone who you are angry with. Can you feel the power the person or event has over you? Do you feel yourself reliving the event every time you think of it? How are your family or coworkers affected by your anger?


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  Buddha said, "You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger".


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"Forgiving enables us to let go of the past in order to create what we want more of, now and in the future." -anon

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Forgiveness is not something you give to someone else. It is a gift you give yourself. Forgiving the perpetrator for his action does not mean you stop judging the deed. You forgive him/her, not the action. Forgiveness allows you to live in the present and leave the past behind. Forgiveness will bring you peace.

On my path of light I learned that we are all one. We are all connected to each other by the God Spirit within each of us. If we are cruel to one person we harm all mankind. If we hate someone we also suffer from that hate. The good news is that an act of kindness or love extended to any individual benefits all mankind.

There are dozens of people giving seminars and claiming to have a "method" that will help you Forgive. Some will work for some people and not for others. Do not become discouraged. The method for you lies within. Once you have a sincere desire to move from pain to peace the answer will come to you. It may come in the form of an enlightening book or set of tapes or your spiritual counselor and a workshop. It may take time. I guarantee your quest will not be in vain and you will find the help you need and you too will travel your own "Journey of Light."

I am listing a few of the books that I have found especially helpful. If you find a book that you would like to recommend, please send us the title and author. I will consider adding it to this list.


Foundation for Inner Peace

REAL MAGIC-Creating Miracles in Everyday Life
by Wayne Dyer

by Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.


by Caroline Myss

by Robin Casarjian

by Virginia Sara Fair

FORGIVENESS-The Key to the Kingdom
by John Roger

by Edith Stauffer

LOVE IS THE ANSWER-Creating Positive Relationships
by Gerald G. Jampolsky and Diane V. Cirincione

THE 22 (Non-Negotiable) LAWS OF WELLNESS
by Greg Anderson

by Victor Frankel

by Simon Wiesenthal

by Colin C. Tipping

TRAGIC REDEMPTION - Healing the Guilt and Shame
by Rev. Hiram Johnson, LCSW, BCD
This is an excellent book for people who need to forgive themselves. Based on teachings from the Bible.



Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind. So is attack deprived of its effects, and hate is answered in the name of love. A Course In Miracles

"Forgive, forgive, and forgive some more: Never stop forgiving. For the temptation to project and judge will always be there as long as you are living in the body.  Forgiveness is the key to peace and happiness, and gives us everything that we could possibly want."

- Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD, Out of the Darkness into the Light

 "When we harbor negative emotions toward others or toward ourselves, or when we intentionally create pain for others, we poison our own physical and spiritual systems. By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person. It disables a personís emotional resources. The challenge...is to refine our capacity to love others as well as ourselves and to develop the power of forgiveness."

Caroline Myss, PH.D. Anatomy of the Spirit

 "You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness." A Course In Miracles

 "We have all been the betrayed and we have all betrayed others on different levels at different times. We have all done the best we know how in a given moment of our consciousness, and what is required for us to move forward is the spiritual practice called forgiveness."

Mary Manin Morrissey, Living Enrichment Center

"Forgiveness is the way to true health and happiness. By not judging, we release the past and let go of our fears of the future. In so doing, we come to see that everyone is our teacher and that every circumstance is an opportunity for growth in happiness, peace and love."

Gerald G. Jampolsky M.D. Teach Only Love

"What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset? All this forgiveness offers you." A Course In Miracles

 "Forgiveness is not a lack of discrimination whereby we let all the criminals out of prison: it is an attitude that permits us to relate to the pain that led to their errors and recognize their need for love."

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Guilt is the Teacher, Love is the Lesson

...Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms Ė to choose oneís attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose oneís own way.

Viktor E. Frankl, Manís Search For Meaning

"You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness." A Course In Miracles

 All spiritual masters have talked about the importance of forgiveness:

  • Judaism: The most beautiful thing a man can do is to forgive wrong.
  • Christianity: Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times seven, but seventy times seven."
  • Islam: Forgive thy servant seventy times a day.
  • Sikhism: Where there is forgiveness there is God himself.
  • Taoism: Recompense injury with kindness
  • Buddhism: Never is hate diminished by hatred: It is only diminished by love.

"You simply cannot manifest miracles in any area of your life when you are tangled up with such negativity as hatred and vengeance toward anyone or anything."

Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., Real Magic

 "Anger and rage against another person is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." ----unknown

"What Would Jesus Do?"  WWJD?