“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Bryant H. McGill
today’s post is by my buddie Sean over at themindsetapprentice.com
This past weekend I had the opportunity to see an old and very dear friend of mine whom I had an extreme falling out with many months ago. At the time I felt he had done something that was literally, an atrocity. What it was though is irrelevant for this article, as this is about forgiveness…
What I will tell you though so you can understand how hard it was to come to this place is that what I believed my friend had done is something I think very few could forgive another in their entire life time. In fact, many people would probably hold the anger about it until the day they die.
Now that’s not an ego identified realization where I think I’m some kind of holy Buddha who has super powers. Not at all. On the contrary, I believe anyone can develop the power of forgiveness if only they choose to have the desire.
We have a choice in how we experience everything in life.
While I originally wrote my thoughts and feelings about this experience in my personal journal, I felt it was a vital experience to share for the benefit of others.
If this story can inspire just one person and help them receive the gift of complete forgiveness for another, then my job is complete.
Here’s the story:
Months ago my friend supposedly (with loads of evidence against him) did something that in most people’s minds was unforgivable.
When it happened I developed a lot of anger about what happened. It was as if the walls of trust came crumbling down for me. I was confused, and felt betrayed.
For the past few months I have been involved with a certain community of people that was very closely tied to my old friend. I would constantly be meeting people of whom I had known through him or knew were part of both our similar ‘communities.’
I had imagined several times over the months that one of these times I would be surprised and run into him at one of our gatherings. The very thought was dreadful.
Each time I thought of it I envisioned myself looking at him with a bulls eye and saying, “What are you doing here?” with a vicious tone.
In all the scenes, the people around us noticed and knew there was something up. My ego wanted them to know about my old friend and ‘see him for what I felt he really was.‘ I wanted him exposed.
When I found out he was going to be around one of these gatherings, my heart stopped. I felt that wave of chemicals go through my body that paralyzed any and all positive vibrations I had just moments before.
Despite the vision I had of expressing my anger, I knew in my heart it was time….
It was time to forgive.
It was time to let go.
How I would do that exactly? I had no idea.
See, the thing is, over the months, there were many occasions where I said to myself, “Okay I forgive him…” and in that moment I TRULY felt I had forgiven him…
Yet the next time I’d hear or see his name, that anger and feeling of disgust would rise again.
With just two nights away before I would see my old friend, I began a stream of consciousness affirmation in my journal just before sleeping. I sat down, closed my eyes, and began by writing out everything I was grateful for. Once I found myself in a positive vibration, I immediately began writing my gratitude for things which had not yet come to pass: such as the experience of forgiving my friend, and the liberation it provided me.
During this process I also wrote release statements for the negativity I felt towards my old friend, as well as statements on what I would like to experience.
When I woke up the morning of the gathering, I was genuinely looking forward to seeing him. It was a strange experience I hadn’t known before.
As the time was approaching in the afternoon that I’d see him, I felt a little nervous.
Suddenly, as I was walking through the building, I saw him walking towards me from the other direction, and we caught eyes.
“Hey..…” I said
“Hey Sean,” he said coldly as he continued to walk … clearly not about to stop to shake hands, hug, or engage in any further conversation.
Ignoring the shortness, I stuck out my hand to shake and said, “It’s great to see you.”
“You too,” he said quickly shaking my hand as he walked by to the staircase.
Since he was headed in the same direction I had to go, I followed.
For a moment, there was silence as we walked.
An awkward silence.
As we walked we engaged in brief small talk that I initiated. Each response by him however was short and pointed.
Still, I didn’t let it phase me. I refused to turn it into a negative experience. So I stuck around.
As I continued to ask questions and show my sincere interest, he seemed to open up more. And over the next hour he definitely began to respond more positively and open up in a very subtle way.
While he was preparing for the gathering, he asked me if I would go to his car and grab something for him: it was at this moment it was clear I made a break through with him.
Soon he was asking for some more help, demonstrating his efforts as well. Finally we were exchanging smiles and positive energy as if not a day went by and nothing negative had ever happened. It was liberating.
After a couple hours, I once again felt proud to know and be friends with this person. It was at this moment I fully realized, rather than simply just ‘knowing,’ that there is more to a man than what he does.
Who we are deep down is so much more than our daily actions.
People say that your actions demonstrate exactly who you are. I believe that’s true on a surface level. They do speak to who you are. But still, there’s so much more beneath. There are people who do bad things, when really they are such loving people beneath.
I’m not excusing by friend for what he did many months ago by any means by the way. Just simply acknowledging that he is more than those actions. We all make mistakes. Sometimes pretty big ones.
And besides, in the end…I will never TRULY know for sure if what I believed he did happened for sure or not. I fully trusted him, and he said he didn’t do it. But I also fully trusted another friend, who said he did do it. And the evidence truly was stacked against him.
Regardless though, it was time to forgive and let go.
Despite my friend and I having opened up, I knew in my heart that before he left, something had to be said. It had to be brought out into the open.
As he was leaving I told him I would walk him out.
…And as we were walking I asked him if I could have a moment.
“Sure,” he said.
“I want you to know that you’re one of the best things that ever happened to me. I learned so much through our friendship and for that I will be forever grateful. I am so sorry for what happened between us. It was such a hard time. I was so angry and hurt…but I’m just so sorry for what happened and am so sorry for any pain I caused you. I hope you can forgive me.”
“I forgive you Sean. And, I’m sorry too.”
I was nearly in tears.
After we embraced, I felt liberated, and as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
He did mention at one point that I still didn’t know what really happened those many months ago and what his side was. I simply nodded my head and said “I know,” as it’s not something that needed to be engaged in.
He again made another comment that what I thought had happened didn’t really happen.
I don’t know if that’s the truth or not. I would like to believe it is…and there is a part of me that would like to know…but the compulsive desire to know for sure I once had has died out now. I just don’t feel that need to know anymore. To me, it’s in the past and doesn’t matter one iota.
Before my friend left, I told him I hoped our paths would cross again many times in the future soon. We hugged and said our goodbyes.
Overall, it was truly an extremely liberating experience. Not just that I was able to forgive him…but that it was reciprocated. I was able to give love and compassion, and my friend was able to give love and compassion back. We were in harmony once again. I could feel that love and caring.
All this occurred simply out of the desire for forgiveness.
You see, unless we create the desire, we will never own it. We can say we forgive, but do we really? Forgiveness is not a sentence. It’s not merely a word. It’s an entire state of being and release of energy.
So next time you feel a grudge…Next time you feel pain and anger towards something someone did, remember that forgiveness isn’t just for the other person. It’s for you.
Thank God for Forgiveness.