I was once asked how it was so easy for me to forgive others. I actually had to think about it. I simply did not hold grudges but why was that?
I realized years ago I learned something that Maya Angelou spoke of, “when people know better , they do better.”
All people, no exceptions, have a certain amount of knowledge about the hows and whys of this world. Until they are taught by life how something feels or hurts others, they can not act in a way that differs from this. Until a woman suffers from gossip, she can not truly understand the hurt that it causes, so she will continue to gossip. A man will continue to shout and rave when angered until he learns the fear this causes. A boy who was raised in poverty and saw death, starvation and worse, can not see how killing another is wrong until he experiences something that changes that lifetime of conditioning. They can not do better until they know better.
When I see murder in the news, I do not just feel compassion for the family and loved ones of the murder victim, but also for the person who did the murdering. He does not know better. In essence this is what Jesus said to ‘forgive them father for they know not what they do.”
When you really begin to see that it really is just about the knowledge you have in this life, it becomes so easy to forgive. They do not know better. It also makes it easier to forgive yourself. If you did something in your past that you have a hard time forgiving yourself for, ask yourself “if I had known better would I have done better?” If the answer is yes then forgiveness must start. You now know better but then you did not. You were like a child then working with a limited amount of information. You have apparently become more knowledgeable due to mistakes and other things in your life and now understand the repercussions to your actions. You would make a better decision now. How can you not forgive the innocent child?
A few years ago, a beautiful woman I had known in high school showed up at a gathering a few friends of mine were having. Because it had been over 25 years since we had seen each other, there was a lot of catching up to do. I just briefly went over some of the highlights but for her she needed me to know what recent horrific wrong she had committed in her life. She needed me to find fault in her as she did. I refused to give her the rejection she hoped for. I told her that I too had many screw ups but they did not define my life and for her not to let this little thing define hers. There was nothing to forgive, she now knew better and would do better. She is now happy, in a wonderful relationship and repairing damage to relationships.
You are not your mistakes! Period! We are all flawed and learning in the school called life. When you learn the lesson, you will always do better. I have faith in humans and I know their capacity for compassion and love.
Always with you, always forgiving