It is difficult. no? yes.
“It’s difficult to hear that what we reject out there is what we reject in ourselves, and what we reject in ourselves is what we are going to reject out there. But that, in a nutshell, is how it works. If we find ourselves unworkable and give up on ourselves, then we’ll find others unworkable and give up on them. What we hate in ourselves, we’ll hate in others. To the degree that we have compassion for ourselves, we will also have compassion for others. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.”
– Pema Chodron
this seems to parallel other things i understand to be true, not because i have read it, not because the language is buried under the institutional weight of the church, but because it rings in the halls of the reality of heart and mind and relationships
forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors
i find my debts are those things i have held back/withheld. it doesn’t matter if i intended to or not, meant it for good or harm or it was a manifestation of fear or hurt; it simply is a debt i have to another and to myself–a word or deed left undone, unfulfilled. if i cannot forgive myself for what i have withheld, why would i be able to forgive another for what they have withheld? if i cannot forgive myself for what i have withheld, why would i accept another’s forgiveness? and if i cannot see my own debts, is this because i cannot tolerate my own unforgiveness towards myself ? am i without debt? no. i have and will have debt. i need to walk in living forgiveness.
forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
my trespasses exist when i cross over into anothers space in a way that generates fear or harm, regardless as to whether the no trespassing signs were visible or not. it doesn’t matter if i intended to cross over or not, meant it for good or harm or it was a manifestation of fear or hurt; it simply is a trespass i have committed against another and myself. if i cannot forgive myself for they ways i have crossed over, why would i be able to forgive another for how they have crossed over into me? if i cannot forgive myself for the ways i have crossed over, why would i accept another’s forgiveness? and if i cannot see my own trespasses, is this because i cannot tolerate my own unforgiveness towards myself? am i without trespasses? no. i have and will trespass. i need to walk in a living forgiveness.
forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us
my sins are those things of mind, word, heart and action that alienate me from myself, others and god whether i intend this outcome or not. it doesn’t matter if the thoughts, words, feelings, and actions were meant for good or harm or it was a manifestation of fear or hurt; it simply is an alienation i have created against myself, another, and god. if i cannot forgive myself for alienating myself, another, and god, why would i be able to forgive another for shunning me as alien? if i cannot forgive myself for alienating, why would i accept another’s forgiveness? and if i cannot see my own sin, is this because i cannot tolerate my own unforgiveness? am i without sin? no. i have and will sin. i need to walk in living forgiveness.
or love your neighbor as yourself
who is my neighbor?
how do i love? does not loving require a living forgiveness, for even in our most intimate relationships, those we cherish, does not debt, trespasses and sin occur? are there not moments or years of withholding, crossing over, alienating? yes. what does a living forgiveness look like? perhaps compassion? perhaps mercy? perhaps joy? perhaps sorrows? perhaps living forgiveness is love?
or love your enemy
but who is my enemy?
awe dang. if i cut off, shutout, deny the enemies within, my own internal shadows that simply are, i will surely cut you off, shut you out, deny you. if you or your shadow even remotely generate fear or hurt within me, you have become my enemy from which i must protect myself. perhaps if i learn to love you, my enemy, i will be kinder to myself and vice versa. does it not play back and forth? is that why we are called to love our enemy? the outward exercise refines my inward makings, softens me? thus as i learn how to love my enemies, will i not also become compassionate with who i am and the shadow i cast? and as i am compassionate with who i am, will not my compassion for that which seems alien increase? is not love, compassion? is not compassion, a living forgiveness?
if i hate my enemy or her shadow, i will grow hard and cold. if i hate my enemy, i will assume the worst. eventually who will not be my enemy? i will be my worst enemy? yes.
what is hate?
what is it that i reject?
do i assume the worst?
what do i find unworkable?
who is my enemy?
who have i judged as enemy?
what is a living breathing forgiveness but love. that is love. it is difficult. no? yes.
i will continue to prepare my ground for living forgiveness. it will not be enough. but it will be.0