Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

In the end, it is between you and God

January 19, 2012

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

— Mother Teresa

False harmony

December 4, 2010
false harmony

false harmony

The monk Chu Lai was beaten by a teacher who did not believe anything he said. However, the professor’s wife was a follower of Chu Lai, and demanded that her husband had to apologize to him.

Displeased, but without the courage to deny his wife’s wishes, the man went to the temple with her and murmured some words of repentance.

“I do not forgive you,” replied Chu Lai, “go back to work.”

The woman was horrified. “My husband is humiliated, and you were not generous!”

And Chu Lai responded:

“Within my soul there is no rancor. But if he is not truly sorry, it is better for him to recognize now that he is mad at me. If I had accepted his apology, we would be creating a false state of harmony, and this would further increase the anger of your husband.”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

If we are to apologise, it has to be with sincerity, from our heart, otherwise our apology is nothing but empty words.

We also have to learn how to forgive.

Also see

What’s So Amazing About Grace

Why Forgive?

forgiveness

August 20, 2010
forgiveness

forgiveness

Many of us at some point in our lives feel the need to be forgiven and to forgive ourselves. Yet it is easy to feel trapped, unable to get past mistakes we have made and the scars they leave with us and others.

At the heart of the Christian tradition is forgiveness

– forgiveness from God and God’s help in allowing us to forgive ourselves and to change.

This exercise uses our breathing to help us to accept God’s forgiveness and to forgive ourselves.

Breathing exercise

Find a quiet place where you can sit and relax.
Take a moment to quiet yourself and to breathe
deeply. You may find it helpful to light a candle
to remind you of the presence of God.

Begin to take notice of your breathing

– as you breathe in and as you breathe out.

Focus on the issue which you feel is burdening you. And then as you slowly breathe in and out pray these prayers. Think of the burden when you breathe out and God’s forgiveness and acceptance of you when you breathe in.

Breathe in love — Breathe out hate

Breathe in acceptance — Breathe out separation

Breathe in forgiveness — Breathe out blame

Breathe in peace — Breathe out anxiety

Breathe in life — Breathe out death

Breathe in gentleness — Breathe out tension

Breathe in God’s presence — Breathe in God’s acceptance and forgiveness

— dekhomai

For my lovely friend Sian whose forgiveness I seek.

Also see

Why Forgive?

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

The rabbi and forgiveness

August 16, 2010

This story is attributed to the great Rabbi Bal Shen Tov. It is said that he was standing on top of a hill with a group of students when he saw a band of Cossacks attack the city below and begin massacring the people.

Seeing many of his friends dying and begging for mercy, the Rabbi cried out:

‘Oh, if only I were God!’

A shocked student turned to him and said:

‘Master, how can you utter such a blasphemy? Do you mean that if you were God you would act differently? Do you mean that you think that God often does the wrong thing?’

The Rabbi looked the student in the eye and said:

‘God is always right. But if I were God, I would be able to understand why this is happening.’

Originally posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Carl’s story

July 3, 2010

‘If you take your revenge in one hundred years, you’re rushing things.’ — Paulo Coelho

Carl was a quiet man. He didn’t talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well. Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighbourhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister’s residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up. He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, “Would you like a drink from the hose?”

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, “Yeah, sure,” with a malevolent little smile.

As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl’s arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl’s assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled. Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn’t get there fast enough to stop it.

“Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?” the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.

Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. “Just some punk kids. I hope they’ll wise-up someday.” His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, “Carl, what are you doing?”

“I’ve got to finish my watering. It’s been very dry lately,” came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel.

Carl was a man from a different time and place. A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn’t rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack. “Don’t worry old man, I’m not gonna hurt you this time.” The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.

“What’s this?’ Carl asked.

“It’s your stuff,” the man explained. “It’s your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet.”

“I don’t understand,” Carl said. “Why would you help me now?”

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. “I learned something from you,” he said. “I ran with that gang and hurt people like you we picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn’t hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.” He stopped for a moment. “I couldn’t sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.” He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. “That bag’s my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.” And with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn’t know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl’s garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, “Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.”

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: ‘Person needed to care for Carl’s garden.’ The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister’s office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. “I believe this is my job, if you’ll have me,” the young man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl’s kindness had turned this man’s life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, “Yes, go take care of Carl’s garden and honor him.”

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl’s memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn’t care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, “My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she’s bringing him home on Saturday.”

“Well, congratulations!” said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. “That’s wonderful! What’s the baby’s name?”

“Carl,” he replied.

Many thanks to Elaine for sending this to me.

Also see

Gang attack historic abbey in Farnborough

Like the Flowing River

What’s So Amazing About Grace

Why Forgive?

Past mistakes

December 7, 2009

‘He who cannot forgive another breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself.’ — George Herbert

‘Forgiveness is a door to peace and happiness. It is a small, narrow door, and cannot be entered without stooping. It is also hard to find. But no matter how long the search, it can be found.’ — Johann Christoph Arnold

On his blog, Paulo Coelho told the story of Buddha coming across a yogi with one leg.

During a journey, Buddha came across a yogi with only one leg.
“I burn all my past mistakes”, explained the man.
“And how many mistakes have you burned?
“I have no idea.”
“And how many are left to burn?” enquired Buddha.
“I have no idea.”
“Then it is time to stop. Stop asking God for forgiveness, and go and ask those you wounded for forgiveness.”

I see Christians, that is followers of the Church rather than followers of Jesus, worshiping in church, maybe seeking forgiveness for their sins, then leave the church with a total disconnect.

I call my mobile phone company to complain for the umpteenth time about their piss-poor service. They apologise, say they are sorry, but the the piss-poor service worsens.

Sorry is one of the hardest words to say, it is also one of the easiest.

Forgiveness only has meaning when it comes from the heart, when we show grace. Actions speak far louder than words.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa heard ‘confessions’ from those who had carried out atrocities during the Apartheid era. One of the gruesome and most moving was that from a policeman. He and his colleagues killed an 18-year-old black boy, then burnt his body to destroy the evidence. Eight years later, the policeman returned and burnt the father, forcing his wife to watch.

Asked by the judge what she wanted, she said she wished Mr van de Broek to go with her to the place where her husband and son had been burnt, gather up their ashes and give them a decent burial. He agreed. She then added:

Mr van de Broek took all my family away from me, and I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. And I would like Mr van de Broek to know that he is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him too. I would like to embrace him so he can know my forgiveness is real.

As she slowly walked towards the witness stand some in the court started to sing Amazing Grace. Mr van de Broek did not though hear the singing, he had fainted, overwhelmed.

For Sian who asked me to forgive her for the hurt she had caused.

See

Rumours of Another World

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Why Forgive?