The True Meaning of Forgiveness

By John J. Murphy

When many people think of forgiveness, they think of it in a Newtonian, subject and object way. I forgive you for hurting me or you forgive me for acting like a jerk. With this perspective of “separation,” driven by the ego, we think we are forgiving when we are in fact condemning. We view the forgiveness as being given by one who is above or separate from the other. Even worse, we might agree to forgive but not forget. This approach only hurts the one who cannot let be and let go. When we fail to forgive as Jesus demonstrated, we condemn ourselves. This “mistake” leads to an increase of unconscious guilt and fear in our unconscious mind. In essence, we are teaching ourselves that we are not forgiven and therefore have something to fear. This adds to our karmic debt and delays salvation.

A common theme throughout the teachings of Jesus is forgiveness, an act of unconditional love that demonstrates at a spiritual level that the mistake never happened. Even when Jesus was being crucified, he asked God for forgiveness. Imagine that. He did not condemn Herod or Pilate. He did not condemn Judas. He did not condemn his captors. He could not condemn anyone because he did not see them as separate from Himself. He saw only acts of ignorance dictated by the human ego, and to condemn these acts would have been the equivalent of condemning Himself. Jesus saw beyond all of this. With the vision of Christ, he saw Christ in everyone, the God-given spiritual essence in all of us. This is the true meaning of forgiveness. We see beyond any acts of human ignorance.

John Murphy is a spiritual mystic serving as a business consultant, leadership development teacher, process improvement expert and management coach. He is the founder of Venture Management Consultants, Inc., and author of numerous books including Beyond Doubt: Four Steps to Inner Peace, from which this post is excerpted.

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