By C. S. Newell
Editor’s note: In the United States, it feels like we are constantly reeling from of the abuse of power, racism and the victimization of innocents, especially the victimization of people of color. When an innocent human being is murdered, it hurts us all, regardless of our race or country of origin, and indeed all the world is hurting with us. It seems that there is never a chance to heal or grieve after each tragedy before another injustice comes down upon us—Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, the two innocent police officers recently killed in New York City… still, even though these wounds are far from healed, we must find a way to hate the oppression yet forgive the oppressor if we hope, as Ms. Newell so eloquently explains, to spare our own souls the damage that hatred can do to us, no matter how righteous that hatred and anger may be. To fight for change and fight for peace, we must first heal our own hearts and create peace within.
If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive. –Mother Theresa
Forgiveness is, by far, the most powerful action we can take to heal our minds, our society and our nation.
Our world is full of broken systems, greed, fear and hate. We point fingers and blame others for our problems and rarely take ownership for how we have created the existence we experience, called life. Nowadays, we have access to so much information; every time we read a post on Facebook, listen to gossip talk, the news, engage in reality shows and the many other senseless things we now have access to, we are filling our minds and spirits with junk. We consume so much junk mentally, psychologically and emotionally that we are left seething and empty from the inside. Many of us are hurting, sick, and angry with no real course of action to release these emotions positively or peacefully. In my years of living, I have learned that anger begets more anger. Whatever seed you plant, be ready to eat of its fruit.
We need to forgive in order to heal, collectively and individually. Forgiveness has the power to heal your body. A few days ago, I was extremely ill, so much so that I could not stand or sit comfortably-- I was in agony. Prayer didn't help, Aleve didn't help, meditation didn't help, nothing relieved my pain. I was talking to a friend, and shared what was going on. She asked me if I had done any spiritual work, specifically forgiveness work. I hadn't. As soon as I took the time to respond to the question "Who had I put outside my heart due to unforgiveness," I felt pain starting to leave my body. I used to hear people say this could happen but had never experienced it; now I know for myself what powerful medicine forgiveness can be.
Our community is in a crisis, and has been for some time. It is now time for us to adjust our attitudes toward ourselves so that we can reposition ourselves and experience brighter, more beautiful lives. Forgiveness is the sure-fire way to jump start this repositioning. Forgiveness does not justify or validate the many injustices that have occurred in our neighborhoods or continue to happen; however, it releases us from the burden of being enslaved mentally --enslaved by a mentality of victimhood. We have to be willing to forgive those who have lied to us about our past and those who continue to lie to us, forgive the Roy Bryants, Darren Wilsons, George Zimmermans and Johannes Mehserles; forgiveness is not for the other person, it is for you. Our families are broken and the way to heal them is with compassion and forgiveness. The past cannot be changed. All we have is now.
Hatred and fury beget more of their own kind; we have to raise our consciousness so that we can produce a powerful force of love, unity and communal harmony within. Ask yourself, "Who have I put outside my heart due to unforgiveness?" and make the choice to forgive them now. Not when "justice" has been served.
We can make a difference in the world by choosing forgiveness instead of retaliation and finger-pointing. A lot of people are walking around angry because they choose not to forgive-- believing that if they forgive, they are letting the other person off the hook. That is the most ridiculous belief still trapping people to this day.
Open your heart and choose to start your new year off the best way, with a heart free of resentment, bitterness and anger, by choosing to forgive. When Michael Brown was murdered earlier this year, an anger arose in me that I had never experienced before. I wanted to hold a grudge against all Caucasian people. Holding a grudge is heavy and requires a lot of energy and effort, and it is not the answer to the problems in our society--forgiveness is. Elevating your consciousness by becoming aware of your thoughts and choosing to make better choices will help you reposition yourself and your world.
Who will you choose to forgive today?
About the author
Cynthia S. Newell resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and two daughters. As an ordained minister and faith-based teacher of spiritual principles, Cynthia uses her intuitive & prophetic gift to masterfully coach clients at Dare to Dream, where it is her heartfelt intention to encourage and empower through inspirational teaching, spiritual enlightenment and guided transformation." You can also connect with her on Facebook.
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