Freedom in Forgiveness

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The Lord’s Prayer: part 4 of 6

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Because the act of forgiveness is so important, I want to further expand on the subject.

When we think of the activity of God, we may be tempted to think that we have the power to influence the way God behaves. If we do the right thing God will behave favorably toward us. If we do the wrong thing God will behave unfavorably toward us. If God was an old man in the sky, this may be true. However, Jesus illustrated in his parable of the prodigal son that God behaves the same always. The father in this parable never did anything but love and give to his wayward son. The son’s actions, not the father’s, caused the son’s problems. Likewise, it was the son’s actions that brought him back into alignment with a prosperous life.

When you feel or even know with certainty that someone has harmed you, you take a mental and emotional position. This is a perspective that causes you to think, feel and act from this particular point of view. Your fixed point of view is your experience in life. The view from a mountaintop is much wider than the view from a canyon floor. So you have to ask yourself which view you desire to experience. It is not the action of another that determines which view you hold. The view you hold is a choice you make.

Forgiveness is all about letting go of one undesirable position (point of view) in favor of one that is desirable. Just because someone acts out of integrity with spiritual principle does not mean that you are obligated to do the same. You do not have to condone their action, but you don’t have to duplicate it either. The power of the spiritual approach of forgiveness is that it lifts you from the common reactive mode to the more effective position of initiating new and productive action. You don’t want to ignore your reactions, but you don’t want them to determine your actions. If you do, you cannot rise above the point of view they represent. This is the key to finding freedom in forgiveness.

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