The world needs healing. We feel divided from ourselves, from the world, and from God.
Yet our own personal healing can only begin when we choose to heal others first; that’s just the way healing works. The magic that happens when we forgive others is the very thing that helps us forget and move on.
Minimally, people are irritating. (This includes us!) Many will break our hearts, or even kill us. Yet, when we look at each person and each situation more gently, when we let go of our resentments, give others slack, let up on others' human mistakes, however grievous, we begin to notice that we’re not so hard on ourselves anymore either.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”
Why would Jesus say this?
He was teaching us how to heal one another and ourselves.
So where in the world do we start, in this business of easing up on others, and ultimately, ourselves?
We can begin by forgiving everyone else’s indifference to our own lost hopes, dreams, loves, and opportunities, our deepest sorrows and regrets. When we do, our own apathy and indifference to the plight and suffering of others everywhere will begin to dissipate.
We can stop fretting about the stupid or terrible ways others obliviously act out their fears of loss, death, suffering, disappointment, humiliation, deprivation, cruelty, and loss of control—and find ourselves bravely facing and addressing our own fears.
We can overlook the foolishness people go through to hide behind their masks and walls—and find ourselves extending our hands and hearts outside our own comfort zones.
We can stop criticizing the selfishness that tears apart families and nations and our small blue planet, ruining millions of lives—and let go of our own failures of compassion, giving freely instead, as we have received.
We can let go of others’ self-absorbed rudeness and anxiety (born of the belief that life-is-tough-and-then-you-die)—and find ourselves peacefully within safe, loving circles of unity and oneness.
We can stop being indignant because others think they know, they’re right, they’re sure about how things should work, and how everyone should live—and become secure in our own attitudes of acceptance and humility.
We can stop disapproving of others’ mistake-ridden beliefs, traditions, politics, and cultures—and transform our own fallible and all-too-human personal belief systems and institutions.
We can forgive all who frighten, hate, and angrily misuse us—and forget our own fear, hatred, anger, and abuse.
We can pardon the world its smallness, ignorance, and prejudice—and find within ourselves the loving power of the whole universe.
We can absolve all who have killed or maimed our loved ones in the names of mysterious causes—and free ourselves from our own confused complicity in others’ pain.
We can respect others’ blind loyalties to tribe, nation, race, ideology, religion, class, gender—and embrace our commonalities: one Life, one Love, one Self, one Source.
We can bear with others’ grave and/or foolish past and future mistakes—and live joyously together in the present.
We can let pass others’ weak faith—and grow closer in our shared search for understanding and peace.
We can empathize with others for seeming so far from God and man—and heal our own sense of separation.
We can stop blaming leaders for their many failures, and start speaking out, lifting up, taking risks, and failing and succeeding responsibly, publicly, courageously.
We can release others’ guilt for mistreating us—and drop our own defenses, treating others as we wish to be treated.
We can stop hating God for messing up our lives and mis-creating the world—and start listening for His guiding Voice, and recognizing His bountiful, diverse Creation, perfect exactly as it is.
We can forgive the world, reclaim our ideals and our love, and move on to heal the world as we have been healed.