Are we able to give up requital of wrongdoing, and to forgive, moving from the need for vengeance? Are we able to forgive those who have done wrong — and accept the shortcomings of others? Can we grant a second chance — to others and to ourselves?
“I hereby forgive all who have transgressed against me, whether on purpose or by accident, whether in this lifetime or on any other plane…Let no one be punished on my account.”
-prayer before the Evening Shema
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we should forget. Rather we should accept what simply is and see it as true. From there we can make our next choices, that can improve what is, with imagining it to be otherwise
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER:
We must ask forgiveness for what we have done — but also for what we have failed to do. When have we exacerbated a problem, by not getting involved? How prone are we to accept our imperfections and to realistically incorporate them into the work we must do in this world? Do we get stymied by a grudge that we carry with us for so many years — not seeing our way past our hurts, and allowing them to ground us down?
SOMETHING TO DO:
In these days, leading to the High Holydays, begin to keep a daily spiritual journal. What’s on your mind? What can we do today to bring cheer and wholeness to someone whom we love? Offer more unfettered time to a parent, partner, or child. Listen without judgment, without responding with similar stories. Stop alienating behavior. Take responsibility for a difficult place you are in, and be willing to risk to repair it. Read something in the media that directly contradicts your own opinion. Seek out someone with whom you were once close, and see if you can offer help.