What if we were able to forgive as easily as we judge, find fault, criticize, blame, and complain? As we are in the process of just living our normal lives, what if our hearts and minds practiced forgiveness?
If we are brutally honest with ourselves, it becomes blatantly clear that the practice of forgiveness does not come easily or naturally to most of us. In fact, the rare story of someone proclaiming forgiveness of a person who has committed a heinous act of destruction or violation to that person or a loved one becomes a quaint, strange, or fascinating news story, but hardly something that most of us could do. We are inspired by the story, and admire the person who is able to feel this so strongly and even to express their position aloud. We may even silently question their sincerity but briefly contemplate in our own mind the concept of forgiveness and if it is something we might better enact in our own life.
However, the next news story or commercial message intrudes upon our thoughts and the wispy aspirations of forgiveness quickly fade away into a tiny crevice of our conscious awareness so that it is blurred by the overwhelming news of challenging and terrible events that bombard us constantly over the airwaves.
Our moment by moment surface experiences of tuning into news broadcasts, listening to and/or participating in cynical talk radio, hearing angry and blame pointing political viewpoints, witnessing the accusations featured on popular court tv shows, etc., as well as our own daily struggles with personal relationships, health issues, and financial woes give us plenty of justification for anger, resentment, and for blaming someone else for our predicament. Our ego-centered minds make it easy for us to meld our thoughts back into the real world where murky depths of judgment, blame and condemnation are the acceptable and standard silent rules that we have long been immersed in while we eagerly and habitually share our thoughts of misery with others who dwell there as well.
Our judgmental thoughts are so pervasive and normal for us that we do not even notice them until their existence is brought to our attention by listening to that occasional inspirational story of forgiveness featured on the news, while watching a dramatic movie, or absorbing words arranged in a book that we are reading. What if we did notice them, and what if we noticed the futility and repeating patterns that these judgmental views of our experiences return to us? What if we begin to seriously consider letting go of some of these self-righteousness reactions, and take small steps toward harboring a forgiving mindset?
Would we notice a reduction of stress and anxiety if we were to forgive our co-worker for making a rude and inconsiderate offhand remark, our spouse for arriving unapologetically late to an engagement where we have been patiently waiting, our neighbor for accidentally driving over a corner of our newly seeded lawn, or the driver who thoughtlessly and carelessly sped drove through a mud puddle and splashed water all over our new suit while waiting to cross the street at the corner?
Is it possible these thoughts, attitudes, and commitment to forgiveness could lead to conversational dialogues where openness, friendliness, kindness, understanding, acceptance, and compassion produce new possibilities of peaceful and loving resolutions? What if these things were returned to us, and what if we became so comfortable in these new thoughts and attitudes that we were able to expand this awareness and began to view the personalities and cultures behind major events in a similar way? If enough of us adopted forgiveness of each other, could we change the outcome of major future events as well as our personal dramas? How far could we go with this? How much does each of us unknowingly participate in the state of the world? Could true and expanded forgiveness change the world?