There is a story from WWI where a German soldier marries a wealthy Australian woman after the war. They try to start a new life, build a family, and leave the war behind but are harassed and threatened by the locals who fought in the war to the point of fearing for their lives. The Light Between The Oceans is a film about their story.
Without revealing the story, Frank, the German soldier, is asked by his wife if he feels resentment towards their harassers and he replies by saying: "You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day, all the time. You have to keep remembering the bad things. It's too much work."
Life is hard enough to live through once when bad things happen, but to burden ourselves with resentment is a layer of suffering that we can do without.
The other consideration is just how much bandwidth do we have? If we use our mental and spiritual energy to feed our resentments -- what is left for love, gratitude, and joy?
Now, that brings us to forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive? Mary Queen of Scots said about Queen Elizabeth "I will forgive, but I won't forget." This is not forgiveness, but forgiveness lite. The kind of forgiveness that keeps a little piece of resentment for later just in case the opportunity arises to resurrect the past.
I like to call this the "Library of Congress Approach To Forgiveness." That is, if an upset comes up between two people who've had an upset in the past one (or both) of them reserves the right to bring the whole library of the past "offenses" into the present.
That is a recipe for not only destroying your own mind, but also the relationships around you.
To forgive is to let go of the past. Release it. And by letting it go you acknowledge that it no longer has a hold on you. You not only let the past go, but you free yourself from the pernicious influence the past has on your life.
Queries I am considering today are:
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