Lesson of the Week
Forgiving: I can cease to cherish resentment
People were observing this lifeless bee stuck to this flower. They touched it. Petted it. Prodded and pushed it. “Aw, look. This little dead thing died doing what it loved — collecting pollen,” someone lamented. Someone else chimed in, “No, it died in prostration, overworked by its queen.” Strange but true, this “dead” bee suddenly came back to life and few away.
When the life looks dead and bleak, be still. One situation leads to another, and another, and another and if you eventually let go of that initial bleak perception, you will be able to move on to a more promising state. One way to resurrect and fly away from a bleak state is to embrace forgiveness. But what is the state of forgiveness that liberates you to move forward on you mission?
Not liberating: The Pollyanna View — Forgive no matter what the injury. Cancel the indebtedness – even if it means being hit again by your spouse, cheated by your business partner, or having another service buddy killed because of operational incompetence. Forgive and be re-victimized.
Not liberating: The Resentment View — Never forgive no matter what the consequences. Harbor hatred, blame, abhorrence, loathing, and animosity even if it kills you and your mission.
Liberating: The Understanding View — Look at the situation as if you are in helicopter or at the top of a mountain looking out over everything. This means looking at all the facts and making an assessment as an enlightened, educated, understanding, and realistic person. Cease to cherish displeasure and resentment and be wise not to let this offense happen again. Put yourself in a safe place. Advocate for the safety of others as well.
What is tricky about injury, obligation, and indebtedness is that like the bee, there is a period of stagnation, stillness, or apparent death that would make it appear that your mission is over, dead or irreversibly bleak. However, life moves on.
Resentment is the opposite of forgiveness. Resentment means: “re” — to repeat again and “sentir” — “to feel” (French). The lack of forgiveness or resentment is to feel the same anger again, and again, and again, and again – over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
A component of being forgiving means to stop living in the negative of that injurious experience. In fact forgive means to cease feeling resentment towards.
Resentment, living in the bleakness can continue until unwittingly the victim becomes incapacitated while the perpetrator moves on to a wonderful life. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Anger is a plague-spot that spreads it virus and kills at last.” However, Hanna More, English writer and philanthropist gives you the antidote. Hanna wrote, “Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves from the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirits.”
Just like the bee in the first story flew away, you have the opportunity to fly away from all the points of view after an untoward or injurious situation and be free to live on with your own healthy point of view – one of forgiveness, peace, and hope for the future. Choose to be forgiving for your own sake, but at the same time hang on to the protective power of wisdom. Do not repeat yours or be victim to another’s missteps or mishaps. For instance:
1. During a war, service men were getting killed because of inadequate vehicle protection. People moved beyond their anger, fought for, and won the implementation of better equipment.
2. A child was murdered. People moved beyond resentment and created the AMBER Alert, a bulletin to alert communities about a child’s abduction. Children have been saved because of this new organized way of protecting children.
3. Robert Kearns moved from resentment to advocacy. He led a crusade against the auto industry and was compensated for having his windshield wiper technology stolen by a corporation. His story is told in the movie, Flash of Genius (2008).
Institute the power of forgiveness to let go of views that will continue to hurt you. Hang on to the wisdom, enlightenment, understanding, or helicopter view that will give you the power to heal and be safe. You and your mission will be alive and move forward with the power of forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred and the waste of spirits.
- Hannah More English writer and philanthropist
Activity: Three Views of Forgiveness
Materials: Paper and pen or pencil
Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes for each person to discuss their findings.
1. Take out a piece of paper and orient it to landscape view (horizontal). Across the top of the page write a one-sentence description of a hurtful experience about which you are harboring resentment and not able to be forgiving.
2. Under this one sentence description, divide the page into three columns. Label the first column: Pollyanna View. Label the second column: Resentment view. Label the third column: Understanding view
3. In the first column, Pollyanna View, make a list of Pollyanna, forgiving ways you could respond to this hurtful experience – even if it means being re-victimized. Be too optimistic, positive, good, or hopeful.
4. In the second column, Resentment View, make a list of resentful, non-forgiving ways your could respond to this hurtful situation – even if your ideas seem too pessimistic, negative, bad, or hopeless.
5. In the third column, Understanding View, write down how you could better understand this hurtful experience, gain insight, and find enlightenment. Have “helicopter or mountain top view” that can consider or see all the many points of view that were involved in this hurtful experience. Make a list of ways you could realistically and safely stop resenting and start forgiving.
6. Discuss your results with the group. What did you learn from this activity?
I am forgiving so I can …… We’d like to hear your story about ceasing to be resentful. Write your story below.
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