Christ is often quoted as saying we should turn the other cheek when another wrongs us. This comment lies at the heart of thedebate regarding the true meaning of forgiveness. If we try to live as Christ did, does this mean that we too must suffer at the hands of others, as He did? Does this mean we must ask God to forgive them, “for they know not what they do”? What if the person that hurt you knew exactly what he/she was doing? What if you knew what you were doing when you hurt another? The answer to this is that while people usually know that their actions are harmful to another, they do not know that these actions are motivated by the illusion of separation from others and from the Creator.
Christ also told us to love others as we love ourselves. But whatif we never learned how to love ourselves? Or, what if we loved the idea of ourselves as successful, “together” people, only to have the idea shattered by the loss of a job or the onset of mental illness? Compassion and the ability to forgive begins with ourselves; if we do not forgive ourselves for things we have said, done and thought, we cannot truly empathize with others.In fact, we often judge people with the same faults, failings, and flaws that we perceive in ourselves. However, once we forgive ourselves for not being perfect (at least, not the way we envision perfection in this three-dimensional realm), we realize that we are still knowable and loveable. Like magic, our whole worldview changes.
I have also given much thought to Christ’s message to turn the other cheek. What if He was not telling us to ignoremistreatment, but to simply turn away from it, let go? For in the end, no matter who we are forgiving, we are really choosing to move on from a painful act, word or memory. This frees us up, mentally and spiritually, to receive the new blessings coming our way.