Forgiveness & Psychology

Excerpt from Chapter 4 - Basic New Age Spirituality

We customarily think of forgiveness to have the meaning, "You done me wrong, but I'll forgive you for doing that to me." This is a trap!

First, if whatever I get is always in my own best interests (i.e., created by God/fate/my-higher-self/destiny/karma) then you can never ever never ever never ever do me wrong. Doing me wrong is impossible because the forces that created that reality agreed that was in my best interests before allowing that so-called wrong to happen to me.

Secondly, my talk about forgiving you always stems from an unhappy judgment on my part. I have set myself up higher than you and judged your actions; and I continue to claim the high ground by condescendingly deciding to forgive you. Judgments are always unhappy and they violate one of Christ's most important teachings: "judge not!"

A number of spiritual teachings make a big deal about forgiveness, Course in Miracles, for example. Such teachings often dance around the forgiveness issue by redefining the word in peculiar ways and by claiming that they are not judging "wrongs" but are just seeing the "errors" in your ways. To me this is psychologically the same thing. Such teachings are thus avoiding having to accept that whatever I get is in my best interests, a far more challenging concept with sweeping implications concerning my own happiness and inner peace. They also avoid looking at the Christian "judge not" commandment with their peculiar redefinitions of forgiveness. That is convenient.

So - I recommend that when the idea of forgiveness pops into your mind, you start thinking about how that "wrong" someone done you might just have been absolutely right for you by helping point you in a healthier personal growth direction. This is again the choice, "do you wish to be right or do you wish to be happy?"

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Searching for others' approval (i.e., performing for others) is insidious and incredibly widespread. Often our behavior is so automatic that we don't realize that if we followed our own real desires we would act very differently."