I realized this today:
One of biggest but hidden reasons we don’t forgive is because we deem our lifetime’s experience unequivocally worse than that of our offenders.
I had to think about that.
If you know me, you know that there are a lot of things which have taken place to me in my past that can easily be understood to be unforgivable. And those are the things I have justified myself to bury. Now I know they have done nothing but enslaved me.
I have thought about that.
But as I dwell on these, I realize that in order to understand the offence I would have to empathize with the offender; to put myself directly in their shoes.
One of my personality traits is that I am an Empath. That sounds cool, doesn’t it? All that it means, however, is that I have a natural bent to empathy. Unfortunately, because it is so instinctual, I also have the ability to withold it, which I have done to those in my life who remain unforgiven.
Another part of my personality traits is that I am Feeling or intensely emotional. And when I am offended or hurt deeply, MY emotions and self-empathy trumps ALL.
There is no possible way for me to put myself in the offenders shoes when that happens.
So this great sounding trait has become my Death Row and I was sentenced to death by my own lethal injection.
I choose not to be.
I put myself in their shoes and as I do my empathy swells, my heart breaks for them and I am hit by what a healing balm to their pain my unconditional forgiveness would be.
For both of us.
And the silence that follows the shattering of chains and the crashing of unhinged metal bars falling to the ground is peace. Peace like I’ve never known.