Friday, March 06, 2009


From Kindness: Making a Difference in People's Lives: Formulas, stories, and insights
By Zelig Pliskin
Printed with Permission of Shaar Press

At times the greatest kindness you can do for someone is to forgive. Some people will ask you for forgiveness. Others will lack the awareness or courage or humility to ask your forgiveness. Forgive even if you aren’t asked to do so. This can be extremely difficult. And that is why it’s so elevating.When we forgive others, we are forgiven. This consciousness will make it easier to forgive. When we forgive others, we let go of the resentment and anger that is so dangerous to our physical and spiritual well-being. The realization that anyone who comes to us to ask forgiveness is actually a messenger from our loving Creator and powerful King makes it easier to forgive. Our mind is too precious to fill it with thoughts and feelings of hatred and animosity. A mind full of compassion and kindness finds it easy to forgive, and this is the type of thinking that elevates and uplifts.

Consider these stories from my students: I used to find it difficult to forgive others if they wronged me. Then one day I unintentionally said something that offended a person who was mentally unbalanced. After that, every time I met that person he would repeat quite loudly, "I don’t forgive you." I asked him to forgive me, but he would refuse."You’re not really sorry," he would say."This is ridiculous," I said to myself. "Why is he holding on to resentment for so long?"Then I realized that I am guilty of the same thing. Of course, what I am angry about is more serious than what this person is angry about. And I am more subtle in my approach to non-forgiving. But what I habitually did was at the core just as out of line as what this person did. I was committed to have a broader perspective and to forgive.

* * *I met a person who told me that a turning point in his life was when a homeowner caught him trying to steal valuables. The thief begged him not to call the police. The owner looked him straight in the eye and said, "I will forgive you and let you go, but on one condition. I need you to promise me that you will never do this again. I am not naïve to think that everyone who would make this promise would keep it. But I think that you will." I felt tremendously grateful to him, and said, "I promise."The man told me to come back for weekly meetings and he would serve as my mentor in how I could straighten out my life. His forgiveness totally transformed the entire course of my life.

* * *I spoke against someone and then deeply regretted it. I went to ask his forgiveness. This was exceedingly difficult for me since I felt embarrassed. "I understand how tempting it can be to speak against others," he said to me. "I forgive you." I appreciated his kind way of saying this to me and resolved to be much more careful not to speak against others in the future.

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