Posted by Roberta Grimes • August 28, 2021 • 42 Comments
Book News, Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

All hail the power of Jesus’s name!
Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all!
– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name” (1779)

The single most important thing that any of us can do in this lifetime is to learn how to forgive. Automatically and completely. Learning radical forgiveness is more important than loving, than being rich and famous, or even than helping charities. Learning to forgive as Jesus calls us to forgive is our most essential task for this lifetime, because until we master true prevenient forgiveness, our ever learning to love as Jesus taught us to love is going to be impossible. This is the first part of a two-week message, both parts of which are essential. I don’t think either one of them is going to be complete without the other.

Forgiveness plays a clear second-fiddle. It is always that sweet and fancy, hot and spicy primary commandment from God that comes first! Love is a big and happy word, and we see it always as our primary goal. We are sure that love is the most important thing that Jesus ever taught. When He was asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus didn’t name any of the Ten Commandments. Instead He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (MT 22:37-39). His big announcement is still to this day absolutely gigantic news! The word “love” isn’t even alluded to in the original Ten Commandments, and now Jesus tells us it comes first? And not only love for God, but also love for our fellow man? And this isn’t even the Lord’s biggest redirection of our priorities. He follows that ground-breaking, earth-shaking revelation with what looks like the jettisoning of the entire Old Testament. He says, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:40). So He’s actually telling us that we can jettison “the whole Law and the Prophets,” now that we have God’s Law of Love? What else can that last sentence possibly mean?

And throughout the Gospels Jesus calls us to accomplish ever more radical feats of love! He says, But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful(LK 6:35-36). And He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:43-48).

Altogether, the word “love” appears some 66 times in just the four Gospels. And it so inspired the earliest followers of Jesus – especially the Apostle Paul – that it comes up another 418 times in the rest of the New Testament. Jesus’s big and flashy call to love inspired Paul to write the greatest call for us to love that ever was written, which ends with these immortal words: “But now faith, hope, love, these three abide; but the greatest of these is love” (1Cor 13:13).

So when I tell you now that the most important thing for your own spiritual growth that Jesus ever taught was not love at all, but it was forgiveness, you are shocked. The word “forgive” appears just 114 times in the entire Christian Bible, including 37 times in the four Gospels and 19 times in the whole rest of the New Testament. Compared to love, forgiveness is a piker word! And I’m going to tell you something else that may shock you. I think we might just have noticed the first place where Jesus, who came to us directly from the highest aspect of the Godhead so He could study us and then teach us at our level, seems to have expected more of us than we have been able to deliver.

Rather than digging down to basics and telling us how to go from reflexive judgment to reflexive forgiveness, He seems to assume that we will readily be able to figure out how to do that. For example, He says, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36). Well, okay, Jesus. We’ll try our best. We can imagine carrying out that bit of advice, but then Jesus also says, “do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41). Huh? Someone abuses you, so then you’re supposed to assist him in giving you even more abuse? What kind of a crazy person acts this way?

And He wants us even to police what we think! He says, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court” (MT 5:21-22).

None of this made sense to me until I learned a trick that I now teach. But although we cannot know for certain, Jesus seems never to have taught that trick. He simply commanded that we always forgive. But forgiving something big that has already happened turns out to be nearly impossible! You’ve got to first notice the wrong as your anger and resentment rapidly rise, and then struggle to wrestle down all those negative emotions. I can recall the days when an insult from someone or being shortchanged or cut off in traffic could ruin my entire afternoon! I submit to you that until you learn prevenient forgiveness, just trying to follow the Lord’s command that you always forgive so you can learn how to love will never work. And the effort will make you miserable.  

Jesus seems to have assumed that we could readily get past this almost universal forgiveness struggle. When Peter asked him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (MT 18:21-23). In other words, even if someone does the same awful thing to you a million times and he never shows any remorse at all, you still are meant to always forgive him!

Furthermore, Jesus makes our forgiveness of others an essential precursor of God’s forgiveness of us. In the Greatest Prayer He teaches us to say, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (MT 6:12). Seems fair enough! He makes the exchange of our forgiving of others for God’s forgiveness of us even more explicit when He says, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (MT 6:14-15). And, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions” (MK 11:25).

The only place in the Gospels where we have a hint that Jesus does indeed understand (and probably therefore He also taught) the fact that forgiving automatically is an essential precursor to our ever learning divine love seems more obscure than it deserves to be. Jesus taught for more than three years, so we have to assume that nearly everything He said has been lost! We are dependent on the memories of people who were so ignorant that what they remembered long enough for it to be written down is probably just the biggest highlights, and the most simplistic and obvious parts of what Jesus taught. And then there is this. When Jesus was reclining at table and a prostitute began to perfume His feet and wash them with her tears, and those around Him tried to warn Him about her, He said, “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven” (LK 7:45-46). This passage fascinates me. I recall His saying that our forgiveness of others comes first, and then God forgives us; and His also saying that until we are forgiving repeatedly, even automatically, we cannot love as He has taught us to love. So here He sees this woman’s ability to love Him as an outward sign of her ability to forgive. He says plainly here how forgiveness and love are linked, and forgiveness comes first! So when He tells her that her sins are forgiven, He is not forgiving her in that moment, but he is affirming an already-established fact.

The reason why forgiveness must come first is that practicing divine love is our natural setpoint. It is only our negative emotions that hold us back! So once we learn prevenient forgiveness, we jettison the petty angers and resentments that have long been holding us down, and we naturally begin to rise spiritually as a bubble rises in water toward the light.

I began a decade ago to put the teachings of Jesus to the test, and I found that they could substantially raise our spiritual vibrations within months. But they worked so well for me only because Thomas also taught me the trick of prevenient forgiveness. It was learning that wonderful technique for automatically forgiving everything before it happens that made me able to forgive easily from then on; so in 2016, at Thomas’s insistence, I finally wrote about it. I was nervous about publishing The Fun of Growing Forever based primarily on one test case, but in the past five years I have been encouraged by the experiences of many others. Prevenient forgiveness really does work! But what if you are presented with a monstrous wrong that is life-changingly gigantic? I mentioned several months ago that someone I deeply loved and trusted had used my love and trust to steal from me a great sum of money. I know now that Thomas allowed that to happen in order to give me the moral right to teach forgiveness on an epic scale. But have I actually forgiven her? Yes. I can tell you now, after four months of struggling to figure out how to both do the work I have been saving to do and also replacement-fund our retirement, that I have never for a moment felt anger. Not once. And although I expect never to hear from her again, I intend to put money on her prison books. It turns out that once you are loving as God loves, turning the other cheek is automatic.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (LK 6:37-38). What does this have to do with forgiving? We’ll talk about that next week….

O seed of Israel’s chosen race
Now ransomed from the fall,
Hail him who saves you by his grace,
And crown him Lord of all!

– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name” (1779)

Roberta Grimes
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42 thoughts on “Forgiving

  1. Dear Roberta,

    Yes, being able to forgive, and deliberately doing so is most important to one’s own physical health and spiritual development; forgiveness is also prerequisite to enabling and creating peace.

    If we have attained the state of lovingness for God and all that God made as Christ tells us, then forgiveness would naturally follow. But, as mortals existing in a world of stress, having to compete for earnings and the sustenance such buys, we are not able to exist in an idealized, siren, beatific state. We must daily work at loving and forgiving in stressful environments.

    To achieve an automatic disposition of love and forgiveness is surely a goal for our mortal existence, but not one that any but a saint might achieve before death. To achieve a disposition that enables DELIBERATELY deciding to forgive befits our mortal existence as a high goal in life.

    A short war story from my youth. I was a freshman physics major at Carnegie Tech. Our professor was a new assistant prof who was not established in the field, and was writing his own text which we could only gain by rapidly copying from the blackboard as he wrote and erased to write more. He gave only only test before a Christmas school break. It had one problem to be worked out. My answer laid out the problem and method for solving it, and produced the correct answer, but was assigned a D grade. After class, the majority of students got in line to complain. I was last in line, and when he got to me he waved me off saying that I failed to follow the correct procedure, without bothering to recheck what I wrote, and stalked off. I was naturally upset and angry.

    During the Christmas break, I spent most of my time hating him and toying with how to get back– and then it dawned on me that I would not actually do anything to hurt him, that my hate was futile, and was actually only hurting myself. I reflected that he was himself hurting from fear of not making it, that he was not getting anything published, but was in vain trying to compensate by writing a textbook. I felt sorry for him. After that, I could not maintain any anger toward anyone for more than a day or two at most. Forgiveness became natural for me, but it was always a deliberate decision, not any automatic, passive response.

    1. Dear Jack, that insight – that refusing to forgive only hurts yourself – is a crucial one, and it’s lovely that you achieved it when you were so young!

      But I don’t think that forgiving more easily comes naturally from having achieved a state of divine love, and nor do I think we can even really achieve the sort of love that Jesus taught unless we have learned to avoid creating resentments in the first place. Resentments are in fact gigantic distractions from our mission in coming here, which is to learn to love completely and universally! But my dear, if you are finding now that forgiveness as a deliberate decision in each instance comes naturally for you, then you are certainly a better man than I am (gunga din)! Before I learned prevenient forgiveness, I was a world-class grudge-holder. Now, though, I never even need to bother to forgive because nothing ever bothers me. I guess there are many ways to make progress!

      1. Interesting about holding grudges. About ten years after I realized that failing to forgive was self-destructive, I then incidentally noticed that I no longer could form any grudges– as mentioned on the same day, or at most the next, after some real or imagined hurt, it was done, There was no decision making about releasing any grudge, as none was there.

        I had not realized that pattern until I observed a colleague who carried grudges for years and was continuing to form them. He was very bright, and generally congenial, but he held grudges as his normal personality. When I reflected on his behavior, I then realized that I simply was not inclined to form any grudge. Annoyance, even provoked anger, and without thinking about it, the emotion was soon gone without any effort.

        So, in retrospect, my habit is not to forgive those who personally offend me, because the negative emotion quickly leaves. Where I do have to decide to forgive concerns what other do to others, such as Efram having mentioned the Nazi atrocities– that requires deliberate and difficult to effect forgiveness.

        1. Dear Jack, it is good that you seem naturally to have achieved the ability to forgive broadly on some level! But because what we are dealing with is our own level of consciousness vibrations, it is important that our forgiveness be truly universal. In your case, you have taught yourself that evil on a national or international scale is something you should be forming grudges over, when in truth your holding anger against the Nazis is not better or more noble than your holding anger against the fellow next door for something he said or did. In both cases, the anger lowers your vibration, it doesn’t matter to either the Nazis or the neighbor, and it serves no good purpose. Even righteous anger affects you negatively, no matter how well justified it might be!

  2. Since we are all the One unified field of consciousness we are actually literally forgiving ourself!

    1. Yes, my dear Thomas. Very wise insight! All forgiveness is really self-forgiveness, but many people seem to fight that idea at first so I don’t emphasize it.

  3. Thanks Roberta,
    Slowly, up and down, but can feel radical forgiveness working for me (well some of the time). This trip to earth is tough for sure but it seems to me the school of tough knocks is requisite for achieving forgiveness. If one seeks to be forgiving, multiple opportunities to forgive will arise. Forgiving myself may be the hardest.

    1. My dear Michael, as Thomas noted just above, all forgiveness is really self-forgiveness. Our religions – and especially Christianity – teach us that we are evil, fallen, and so guilty that not even God – Who is nothing but love! – can forgive us unless God first gets to watch the torture and murder of God’s own beloved Son. Wow, we must be REALLY evil!

      I can’t tell people to leave their religions, even though they are are so spiritually counterproductive, but I do suggest to those who are having the most trouble with self-forgiveness that they pause their religious practice for a time. In my case, leaving Christianity turned out to be essential because just being in the sanctuary and confronted by a life-sized plaster Jesus hanging on a cross above the altar made me feel awful!

  4. I appreciate your blog today. Intellectually I understand to achieve peace, forgiveness is “a must.”
    Problem for me is actually being able to forgive on the spot. You have given me a tool to work with and I am going to try it out~prevenient forgiveness.
    Thank you Roberta and Thomas for a very much needed post.
    Love to you, Lois

    1. Oh my dear Lois, I’m so glad that learning prevenient forgiveness is helping you so much! It really is a miracle. We are preparing new editions of the Fun series, so I have this week been re-reading The Fun of Growing Forever, and realizing over again how completely I have gotten past the need to ever actively forgive. It has been ten years now. And I am amazed to say that in all that time I have never once had to actively forgive anything!

  5. Thank you Roberta for reinforcing the conscious choice to forgive. It is not a natural state to do so snd seems to be consciously applied, like exercise for the body, in order to be healthy. When I can forgive I feel peace and contentment. Hatred and self-righteous resentment is a default mode but it creates only more of the same. Instead, applying forgiveness creates more and more peace.

    1. Oh yes, my dear Nan, precisely right! Becoming angry about anything is a useless emotion, which is why prevenient forgiveness is such a wonderful trick. It is amazing how much happier you are when, whatever happens in your day, nothing ever makes you feel negative at all!

  6. Whenever I feel anger or hate (very rare these days) or resentment (less rare) or annoyance (sometimes often) towards others, I practice the simple, profound ritual of Ho’oponopono which, in recognition of our divine connectedness, forgives and heals both them and myself:

    I’m sorry.
    Please forgive me.
    I love you,
    Thank you.

    1. Oh my dear Kristian, if that works for you, then it’s wonderful! Thank you for sharing it. What prevenient forgiveness does is to do away with our negative reactions before they can trigger even mild annoyance, so you don’t react negatively at all, to anything. But if any resentment still squeezes through, then I love the idea of loving the negative trigger and expressing a need for its forgiveness!

  7. Hi Roberta and everyone. I once heard someone describe forgiveness as giving it up to God for healing. That made sense to me since only God sees the whole picture, why people do what they do, or why events happen, and only God knows best how to eventually heal it all. What at first seems a curse can turn out to be blessing, or vice versa. Stewing in anger only hurts us and impedes our spiritual growth, like wanting to poison someone else but really taking it ourselves. Forgiveness allows us to cut all the cords that bind us to pain and fear, so we return to peace, knowing this Earth is just a school anyway. Learning to forgive preveniently keeps us from forming those cords and attachments to negativity in the first place – even better, since we eventually learn to never be knocked out of that peaceful, loving place of unity consciousness/seeing the divinity in every person in the first place, even for a moment. I can’t think of a better goal to aim for.

    1. Oh my dear Scott, so much that you say is just right! It astonishes me now to remember how up-and-down my emotions were ten years ago, and twenty years ago. I was giving to everyone on earth the power to ruin my day, every day! But now I never get angry. I live in peace, but what is more important is that I see so many reasons every day to be happy! I think that may be the most pressing reason for each of us to try to grow spiritually. There really is no other way to be so extremely and deliriously happy!

  8. Dearest Roberta,
    It seems that I am ‘nudged’ from the inside as it were, to realize that a number of people reading this crucial blog post are struggling with the issue of how to forgive completely.

    I feel there are individuals who can love, empathize, help their fellows and do many beautiful nurturing actions but their forgiveness is stymied by certain individuals/things they cannot forgive. Try as they might, feeling forgiveness for a few key things eludes them. It may happen then, that their self worth may wane and they think themselves spiritually lacking, under-evolved or even just hopeless recidivists.

    Please Roberta, what assistance can Thomas and your good self give someone who can forgive almost everything but not, say, child abusers or their Nazi S.S. grandfather?

    How can somehow break the deadlock of one or two ‘unforgivable’ people or things to let loving forgiveness flow? 🙏🏼🌅

    1. Forgiveness is not of an egregious act or even pattern of behavior, but of the soul who in mortal life did wrong, but is yet an eternal spirit, who when restored to existence in Heaven lacks the evil character manifest in the flesh. Those who commit crime here are also engaging in spiritual learning, and their very crimes ennoble those who resist (such as Oskar Schindler) , and those who work to repair the damages, such as doctors and counselors.

      1. There are quite a lot of people I look up to, but the top 3 (at least for me) are Harriet Tubman, Oskar Schindler, and Martin Luther King. Why? Because each of those people risked their lives every single day to help mankind. These types of people are extremely rare. However, you bring up an interesting point. They couldn’t “shine” without the villains who caused them to do so in the first place. Could it be that we all have a “role” to play and that some roles aren’t as squeaky clean as others?

        1. Hey Lola,
          That’s an interesting point about taking on sullied, sly, sleazy, snarky or seriously villainous roles intentionally so as to give other souls the chance to shine..

          You know, I’ve always thought that the more evil roles were the result of a thwarted or misdirected life plans. The natural redress then, occurs by virtue of the valiant souls who oppose them. By choosing to oppose the negativity, these souls grow in a big way….
          But what do I know? 😉

          I love the three heroes you have listed as the ones you really look up to. I’d like to learn more about Harriet Tubman though. 👍 I guess it might be cool to look at how these great souls handled forgiveness. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi really nailed it, I feel.

          1. Efrem: Harriet Tubman saved thousands from the cruelty of slavery by sneaking them into Canada and up North, just as Schindler diverted the “death trains” that were supposed to be going to Auswich, but even when Harriet’s services were no longer needed, she established homes for the indigent, taught girls how to cook, did housekeeping for the elderly, and became a scout for the Union army during the Civil War, thus saving more lives – this time the lives of soldiers. She was buried along side high profile generals – all this despite the fact she could not read or write, as it was illegal to educate black people back then. The reason I feel that some people play a role is that Hitler as a young World War I soldier heard a voice telling him to leave the “safety” of his platoon shelter. He ignored it, but when he heard it a 2nd time, he ran out and down the road. A short time later, the platoon was hit and there were no survivors. So who wanted to save this monster? Obviously, he was directed to leave by something or someone who knew what he would do in the near future. If the voice hadn’t told him to leave, he would have died with the others and history would have been very different. (Of note, this has always bothered me)

          2. Heck Lola, Harriet Tubman sounds simply amazing! (In India people would call her a ‘great soul.’) She certainly lived an incredibly brave and selfless life.

            Of course being Australian born and bred, I am unfamiliar with some of the outstanding heroes of the USA. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about the amazing Harriet Tubman, I will enjoy learning about her forthwith. 👍

            And as to Hitler, the story about a ‘voice’ saving him from being blown up is new to me. I’ve heard that evil forces protect their own messengers and enablers, so maybe Hitler had negative energy protecting him…
            Who knows?

            Or it could be that as a corporal in WW1, young Adolph had not chosen his evil path yet. (Methinks his evil life as dictator wasn’t part of his prior life plan.) Maybe his guardian angel simply protected him because it wasn’t time for his life exit point.

            Even A.H. needed to be given time in life to choose his path, I guess…🙏🏼🕊

      2. Dr Jack,
        I think you’ve given a clear, big picture of what is happening on the deeper levels of the soul. It does help one to see what is really happening when people commit a terrible act, or are on the receiving end of one. Also, the compassionate empathy of those who step in to help the afflicted is able to be expressed. 👍

        Such a big picture, or soul viewpoint, does help us detach from resentment and hatred over time, I reckon. As you say, when freed of the human experience, the soul goes back to the afterlife and can learn from what it has done when on Earth. This deeper understanding changes the way we view good and bad. 🙏🏼🕊

        1. Efrem: I think you (and Jack Hiller) may have truly nailed it when you mention seeing things from a soul perspective, especially when you said “this deeper understanding changes the way we view good and bad.” Hitler had many strange interventions that would ensure his survival, dating back to childhood, and this led to his thinking that he was protected. I read about this years ago, but he had many (nine that were documented) interventions that saved his life other than the one I mentioned. They are all outlined in “Lessons From History” which is on the internet.

          Many beautiful stories arose from the holocaust, as awful as it was – stories of compassion, love, and helping others, so seeing all this from a soul perspective is most likely entirely different than from our limited physical perspective. I only mentioned AH here, as no one wants to forgive him, and if we need to forgive everyone, we would have to include him also (easier said than done).

          1. Lola, I’ve come to see that you are right about the need to forgive Hitler. If history’s monsters like Hitler or Stalin must be forgiven so as to set us free from heavy negative attachments, then so be it. If total forgiveness is vital to bring the Kingdom of God on earth, then so much the better.

            You see none of my Jewish family was in Europe during WW2, so it is easier for me to forgive the Nazis than for the Holocaust survivors and their descendants. So I can’t really speak for those whose families were decimated. And of course, those Holocaust survivors who did forgive their persecutors have triumphed in forgiveness on a truly profound level. (The survivors being both Jewish and non Jewish people.)

            And you know what helps me with forgiveness there? It’s knowing that all those murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators are alive and happy in the afterlife. Once you know that it changes everything. 🙂😉🌅

      3. My dear Jack, this is true enough. But it can help us to forgive to step back even farther, and to begin to see even the worst evildoers as just actors in a play; so while what they are doing looks evil, it is in fact something like an act. We cannot know the extent to which they will judge themselves as guilty when they go through their life reviews, and anyway there is no time in the astral and all of are already back in the Godhead so whatever “time” it might take for him to get to the point of self-forgiveness apparently ultimately doesn’t matter. I really don’t completely understand all this, and it sprains my mind when I try! But it really is true that we take what happens in what Craig Hogan calls earth-school far too seriously.

    2. Hi Efrem. That one small word is a large question. How? It’s wonderful that we have so much guidance about what to do. How needs a bit more detail.

      1. Hi Ray,
        I too reckon ‘how?’ may well help us with polishing stubborn stains on the cup of forgiveness. Sometimes one or two resentments stop us from empowering ongoing, soul deep forgiving.

        I’m on my way, I guess. However I’ve asked my Guide in Spirit to help me with a difficult issue or two. And this actually worked, once I listened closely. 👍😉

        1. Dear Efrem, it’s lovely that you are getting spiritual help! And as for “how,” really learning prevenient forgiveness does fix everything, I am amazed to say. I haven’t been angry about anything at all, whether on the world stage or in my own life, in more than a decade. I can’t even remember what anger felt like!

    3. Dear Efrem, the only way that seems to work is to seriously reprogram your mind so you are always practicing prevenient forgiveness. You just have to keep at it! You form and forgive those forgiveness balls until you can look at a picture of Adolf Hitler and just shrug. It amazes me to see how well this works!

      Another thing that helps is dwelling on the fact that none of this is real. It’s as if we are actors in a play, and when we go home we and Adolph and his victims will all maybe sit around and share ambrosia and stories. In fact, reports are that Hitler has managed to forgive himself, but many of the concentration camp guards have not, so their erstwhile victims are working together to try to help them to forgive themselves so they can then free themselves from the outer darkness level. And if their victims are able to forgive them, how can we do any less?

    1. Interesting question, Ray. Which is more difficult, forgiving others or forgiving ourselves? Is Jesus hinting at that when he says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged?” In the end, I think the same process of prevenient forgiveness must apply to ourselves. Heck, I recently heard someone say something like 95% of our actions are governed by the subconscious (I’m not sure I would agree with that number, but I see his point) We have so much “shadow” material to work through, it can be like peeling the layers of an onion. I have heard even so-called advanved spiritual leaders say this about themselves, and there’s no shortage of stories about gurus acting in less than ideal ways. In the end, it may often be even harder to forgive ourselves than others – all the more reason to apply prevenient forgiveness all around, not just to the other guy. For that reason, I have taken to adding “Thank you for teaching me,” and sometimes, “Thank you for this pop quiz” to the end of Roberta’s prevenient forgiveness prayer. 🙂

      1. Scott F, Mikey Morgan says it’s the intent of our actions that really count. Still, I can’t help but do partial life reviews; and cringe at the effects of inadvertent harms.

    2. Yes, my dear Ray. loving is the Lord’s first commandment, but loving comes naturally once we have sufficiently jettisoned all our negative emotions. And forgiveness is easiest when we retrain our minds ever to even entertain further negative emotions. Ten years later, it still confounds me to realize how easy it really is!

  9. It would seem that our failure to forgive others makes it more difficult for those who have wronged us to forgive themselves.

    1. Hello my dear Thomas! Perhaps. Certainly if they are people with whom we are in regular contact, our forgiving them does help them to feel better as they go about their day! But ultimately, forgiving others is the gift that we give to ourselves. We are the ones who are most happily affected whenever we forgive someone else!

  10. Hi Roberta, hi everybody!

    Stand by for part 2, after which this will make more sense. I also suspect that Roberta is above shameless plugs, but I am not! Get and read and reread her book.

    1. Dear Mike, all my Fun books will shortly be coming out in new editions with updated bibliographies. Perhaps it might be good to wait for that? But yes, I have just re-read The Fun of Growing Forever as we prepare its second edition, and I am astonished to see how good it is. I wish I were as smart as Thomas. It’s when I look back at things we did years ago that I am most forcefully confronted by the fact that I certainly am not!

  11. Actually I was thinking more of the situation where the person being forgiven is deceased. Seems like the failure to forgive perpetuates the wrongdoing, making it more difficult for the deceased to evaluate a prior life and move forward.

    1. My dear Thomas, this is an interesting thought that never had occurred to me. I have been assuming that the life-review would be about the victim’s emotional reaction at the time that some bad deed was done; but of course, it is possible that the person experiencing the life review might also feel the victim’s ongoing refusal to forgive. Wow. True. And all the more reason why we should be earnestly seeking to learn to forgive everything!

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