What is Forgiveness?

By Michael Mirdad

In its purest sense, forgiveness is synonymous with the word “restoration.” This is because forgiveness restores our soul to seeing the light and truth of whatever it was that became darkened by judgment or resentment.

People often assume that in order to be forgiving, we are supposed to love and forgive abusive behaviors. For example, it’s often asked, “How are we supposed to love people who abuse children or animals?” The answer is simple, yet profoundly important to understand: we are not asked to love the abuse nor the abusive part of that person. We are asked only to love the divinity within that person that they have long forgotten. In other words, to forgive someone means to see them as they truly are, as God created them to be, rather than the form in which they have temporarily shown up.

When we truly forgive, the brain cells that remember harmful things that seem to have been done to us get dismantled or unplugged. Then, new memory cells are created to remind us that beneath all the events in our lives, there was always love—even where we once could not see it.

Forgiveness is a process of restoration with enormous practical benefits. However, for us to experience the miraculous benefits of forgiveness, we have to be willing to see ourselves and others in a divine light—or as we all were prior to our belief in separation. Any hesitation to witnessing the beauty within everyone’s spirit, by default, limits our ability to experience this beauty within ourselves.

One quality that helps us reach such profound expressions of forgiveness is that of gratitude. A Course in Miracles teaches that when we practice true forgiveness, we naturally begin to feel and express a sense of gratitude for even those who seemingly have done the most horrific things. It’s not that we are to feel grateful for people traumatizing us, but we can be grateful for what we choose to learn from the experience, which usually means we will not experience it again. For example, we can be grateful that we learned the power and value of forgiveness. We can also be grateful that our seeming “enemy” magnified and reflected to us some of our deepest core issues that were previously unseen. And now, by having these issues exposed and choosing forgiveness, we ourselves have reached a higher level of consciousness, meaning we are now much closer to returning Home. It is for this (not the actual painful human experience) that we are grateful.

One important thing to remember about true forgiveness is that just because we have chosen to work on forgiving an issue (such as an old wound), the full effect of that decision often is not experienced immediately. Instead, we usually experience such effects over a period of time—minutes, days, months, or even years. So it’s wise to know, in faith, that all is well—even when we cannot yet see the manifested results. Otherwise, we may be tempted to doubt the efficacy of our forgiveness, merely because the past judgments and traumas still seem to cast a shadow into our lives.

There are several levels of forgiveness; but at whichever level we practice, the bottom line is that if we fail to completely forgive someone or something, we cannot experience the best life possible. Ultimately, all excuses for not having forgiven are merely subtle forms of unconsciously choosing to retain our belief in separation and therefore our belief that we are undeserving of a better life.

Michael Mirdad is a world-renowned spiritual teacher, healer, and best-selling author of The Book of Love & Forgiveness and You’re Not Going Crazy…You’re Just Waking Up! For thirty-five years, Michael has transformed the lives of thousands of students and clients and is noted as a “teacher’s teacher” and a “healer’s healer.” www.michaelmirdad.com