Have You Forgiven?
Below is a checklist to help you determine whether or not you are practicing a life of forgiveness, and thus what you may still need to work on. Go over this checklist as many times as needed for any person you have issues with.
On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of unforgiveness, rate your forgiveness practice (0 is a perfect practice).
You need your offender to apologize.
You need your offender to admit they were wrong.
You need your offender to receive justice.
You need your offender to feel guilty about what they’ve done.
You need your offender to be aware of how much he or she hurt you.
You need your offender to rectify him or herself.
You need your offender to learn their lesson, either on their own or by your intervention.
You need your offender to pay for what they’ve done.
You need to tell your offender you forgave them in order to completely forgive (in some cases it may be helpful to tell them, but your forgiveness should not be dependent on this).
You keep the record of their wrongs securely lodged in your heart.
You punish your offender with your tongue by telling others what he or she has done.
You don’t let them save face.
You are unhappy or upset if your offender prospers, if people like or appreciate like them, etc).
You allow your offender to be afraid of or intimidated by you as a way of punishing them.
You get angry or upset every time you think about or see your “offender.”
You hope that something equally bad will happen to your offender.
You blame your offender for how you feel.
You blame your offender for problems in your life (problems related to what they did to you).
You attempt to forgive but can’t perfectly do it because you feel the person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.
You forgive out of righteousness, that you’re great enough to do the right thing because your offender is too weak, stupid, or full of himself to admit he or she is wrong.
You don’t empathize with the life struggles and conditioning that caused your offender to do what he or she did.
You don’t appreciate the good that exists in your offender
You are unable to pray for your offender, or if you do, at heart you really don’t want the blessings you prayed for to actually come to them.
You don’t accept that the situation was created to bring about your own learning, growth, and healing.
You can’t forgive yourself (complete forgiveness entails self-forgiveness)
The Attitudes and Practices of One Who Lives The Life of Forgiveness
For any item on the checklist that is not a 0, isolate which attitudes and practices below you need to adopt to bring it to a zero.
- You accept that the situation provides an opportunity for your learning and healing and feel blessed to have the opportunity to deal with it.
- You accept that you are harming yourself by holding onto your resentment.
- You fully embrace the hurt and the emotions attached to the hurt without suppressing or repressing your feelings.
- You accept that forgiveness is about your response to what they did and not about what they did. You thus agree to take responsibility for your own feelings and not make your feelings dependent upon the rectification of the mistakes made by your offender (they’re admitting their mistake, asking for forgiveness, apologizing for what they did, suffering for their mistake, rectifying their mistake, changing their behavior, etc.) or they’re being publically exposed or brought to justice.
- You accept that your core need – coming from a core hurt – has created a need that has not been met and that the unfulfilled need has caused resentment.
- You do not deny what they did was wrong, hurtful, or painful.
- You may wish to speak about what happened once or twice to release the negative emotional energy attached to the resentment. After this, you stop talking about what happened and stop going over it in your mind again and again.
- You accept that blaming them is simply the way you are dealing with your personal pain (a disempowering way) and that only forgiveness will release your pain.
- You accept that blame is a way to avoid seeing your own defects by seeing those very defects in others.
- You accept that you are also capable of making great mistakes, perhaps even the mistakes they made.
- You treat them as you would want to be treated if you were in their situation.
- You empathize with their life struggles and conditioning and why they acted the way they did.
- You appreciate whatever good is found in your offender.
- You pray for the welfare of your offender and bless them.
- By your words and actions, your offender is assured they have nothing to fear from you (you don’t use resentment to control them).
- You honor your offender for the life lessons they bring you.
- You accept that God wants you to extend to others the same forgiveness He gives you (give mercy, get mercy).
- You forgive to get closer to Krishna. You value your relationship with Krsna more than you value punishing your offender.
- You forgive from the heart (not just officially) and inaction and continue to forgive your offender daily.
- You tear up the record in your heart of how they were wrong and how you were right.