Miracles News

October-December, 2019

Why Not Forgive?

by Rev. Stephan Mead, O.M.C.

“Forgiveness offers everything I want.” (ACIM W. 122)

Do I want everything that I want? Of course I do, doesn’t everyone want what they want? The question almost seems like nonsense. On the deepest inner level I can reach, my answer is yes! And what I truly want is proper alignment with all the spiritual principles ACIM and other paths teach. Hmm, that sounds kind of lofty. What I really want is to feel good all the time. As soon as I typed that last sentence, I could hear the nuns & my parents from my childhood days. “Stephan, you cannot feel good all the time, life doesn’t work that way.” In my immaturity I would think, “Why wouldn’t God figure out a way that I could always get what I want? — how hard could that be for God?”

One way of reflecting on my entire life is a discovery that all I’ve ever done is to try and get what I want. It sounds selfish. (please note the small “s” in selfish.) And by all spiritual definitions of “selfishness,” that’s a very fair description of my life. My ego driven way of thinking presented me with many choices about how to attain what I wanted. Many times it seemed to work but most of the time it didn’t.

If I take the promise of Lesson 122 literally, (which is a direction in the course) all I need do is forgive, forgive everyone and everything and in return I’ll get everything I want, (or I will see I have it already).

Does forgiveness seem too high of a price to pay for getting everything I want? Wouldn’t any sane person gladly sign up for that deal? Uh oh, perhaps I shouldn’t have brought up sanity.

In the 12-step program I am part of, there is a very recognized, often quoted line taken from our recovery book, “Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 64.)

I could test my level of self-honesty by asking myself if I am still harboring any resentments, or put another way, not forgiving who or whatever I haven’t. Am I choosing hell instead of “everything” I want? (Which must be Heaven, right?)

One of my daughters called me yesterday in tears about how unfair and mean a person very close to her had been. She read me a couple of texts she received and, as the world would see it, this person did appear to be mean. The more my daughter talked about it, the angrier she got. Ha, I wish I didn’t so easily identify with what she was experiencing! When she finished telling me her story (three times), she finally asked what she could/should do about it.

I asked her what she would like the final outcome to be if it could be anyway she wanted. As I suspected, because maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, she said her deepest desire was for the other person to admit their wrongdoing, apologize and promise never to behave like that again.

I said nothing and there was about two minutes of silence on the phone, then she started laughing… laughing hard and in a joyous way. She said, “That’s never going to happen, is it dad?” Then I laughed too and agreed with her.

Then, on a serious note, I said there was a way to put it all behind her — to not feel any resentment, annoyance, irritation, or anger. She, said, “how?”

I said, “Forgive her.”

This time we hit the three minute mark of phone silence, but no laughter. She said, “Dad, that’s crazy, I didn’t do anything wrong, why should I forgive?”

“Do you want peace and happiness in your life?” I answered, “all you have to do is forgive.”

Of course by now I have realized this whole conversation with my daughter is for me — it’s a dynamic I’ve been in hundreds and hundreds of times, and I could have finished the talk speaking for her too.
She said, “No!” “Absolutely not!” “It wouldn’t be fair!”

I sensed the conversation was about to end. I mentioned that she was choosing pain and suffering over peace and joy — she was choosing that.

She said (and to be accurate, in a loving tone of voice,) “Dad, sometimes you are so weird!”

This happened yesterday and is still foremost in my mind, not her story but where I’ve reacted in the exact same way. And even more important, are there still situations where I’m still thinking exactly like my daughter?

Here’s a well-deserved plug for Pathways: I recently started going through Course 918:The Power of Prayer and Meditation with a long time course study partner and, spoiler alert! Wouldn’t you know, it’s all about True forgiveness.

Even though I’ve gone through Course 918 a few times, this time I felt like God answered the question I asked as a seven year old, sixty years ago. “Yes Stephan, I actually am a big enough God to set up life where you can feel good all the time!” “Forgiveness offers everything you want!”

Rev. Stephan Mead, O.M.C., is a Pathways of Light minister living in Seattle, Washington. E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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