Forgiveness always possible

April 13, 2023 | 26 comments

Brethren, even as Jesus forgave, forgive thou. I say it with joy, — no person can commit an offense against me that I cannot forgive.

~ Mary Baker Eddy, Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 19

26 thoughts on “Forgiveness always possible”

  1. Forgiveness is a subject that Evan periodically makes the subject of his blog post, and for good reason, since it’s an important topic we need to regularly think about and practice. Since I’ve been reading this blog for many years now, I’ve noticed when the blog subject is forgiveness, frequently someone will ask a question similar to “If I’m in an abusive situation, am I just supposed to keep forgiving and allow myself to be subject to more abuse?”

    In thinking about this question two things have come to me. First, true forgiveness involves seeing the true spiritual identity of the person who needs to be forgiven. And when you are able to realize man’s true identity, both for yourself and others, that has a healing effect and can change a situation of discord to one of harmony (the article Martine shared brings that out).. But secondly, I love how Mrs. Eddy provided us with seven synonyms for God. The number “seven” indicates “completeness” so I try in my own thinking never to get so focused on one of the synonyms that I lose sight of the others. Regarding forgiveness, if you only thought from the concept of God as Love, it would be possible to get so focused on expressing love when practicing forgiveness that you might inadvertently allow yourself to be exposed to a continually abusive situation. But God is also Mind and the attributes of Mind are wisdom, intelligence, etc.. Therefore, I think it’s important to remember when practicing forgiveness to be sure to use wisdom, intelligence, and all of the other attributes of God when being guided as to what practical steps to take in any situation. When Jesus sent the disciples out to minister “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” he instructed them as follows:

    “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

    Wisdom is so important in all aspects of life, but particularly when it comes to practicing forgiveness.

    Finally, in Matthew 18:21,22 is the following:

    21 Then came Peter to him [Jesus], and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
    22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

    But in the Manual of the Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy wrote this:

    A member of The Mother Church who mentally malpractises upon or treats our Leader or her staff without her or their consent shall be disciplined, and a second offense as aforesaid shall cause the name of said member to be dropped forever from The Mother Church.
    (Manual of The Mother Church, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 42:25)

    I find it interesting that she doesn’t say you can’t forgive a person that commits this offense of malpractice “seventy time seven” times. But this By-Law would seem to imply that, from the standpoint of wisdom, if it was been brought to someone’s attention that they committed this specific form of malpractice, and they did it again, they must “forever” lose their privilege of being a member of the Mother Church, There are other By-Laws in the Manual dealing with discipline that are similar and would imply to me that “forgiveness” does not mean you need to continue to allow yourself to be subject to abuse, but instead you can use wisdom, intelligence, and all of the other attributes of God to find a practical solution that provides safety for yourself and others.

    1. Thank you. I, too, think this is a complicated matter and not one to be dismissed with a hug and swallowing continued abuse. I did a lot of reading on this and increasingly discovered that for myself, forgiveness isn’t about the other person at all; I need to forgive in the sense of overcoming my feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, and even hate with love. I need to understand that the “other” individual is a child of God, and God is quite capable of dealing with that person’s development and will do so. Unless I’m in the position of authority where I have to take action and/or have a discussion with the individual (such as a police officer or a parent), I don’t have to hug, I don’t have to talk to, I don’t have to spend time with that person. I move on without anger, without resentment because I, too, am a child of God, beloved and cared for. If I do have to take action, I do so in whatever way God directs. That’s forgiveness and freedom. As is often quoted: “Hate (anger, etc.) is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Rather, we fill ourselves with love and gratitude and live.

    2. Thank you for bringing out the importance of using the other synonyms for God when praying about a situation. That’s very helpful advice! You should write that up for a Sentinel article!

  2. Dear RH, thank you very much indeed for your very interesting and eye opening comment! Really, our learning to understand Christian Science better and clearer is never ending. I am very glad and thankful for every progress in this understanding that brings healing!
    Thank you dear Evan, forgiveness is a vital and important part in CS healing. And I often had the situation that I must forgive and love more, also myself! There is a lot to do praying for peace! How healing and helpful is Evan’s SpiritView Blog!♡
    Am also very grateful for the article Martine gives us so lovingly!♡

  3. Evan & RH. – Your comments, are timely and very thought provoking. Here in western Montana we have had a very tragic death on a number of levels. I do trust these truths will help people see through all the fog to the core goodness of all involved.

  4. Thank you all for the very good and wonderful workable ideas about forgiveness.

    I think we have to forgive ourself first in order to get to the highest level to forgive our fellow persons.

  5. Thank you Evan and all. I often think about that demand of Jesus to forgive seventy times seven, that as we continue to truly correct the incorrect thinking we have about another, we will see the child of God. Sometimes it may take a while. But the child of God is always there.

  6. So many things, in our own lives, in the community and world provide us with an opportunity to apply what we learn in Christian Science to grow in forgiveness.

    Maybe the ultimate form of forgiveness is when we can get to the point where we see that there was nothing to forgive, that nothing ever happened to move us out of God’s perfection (yesterday’s SV on the reality of perfection). A practitioner gave me this quote, she said it was from an article by L. Ivimy Gwalter, “Man abides in conscious perfection. He has no need of healing.” Maybe it is the same idea for forgiveness. Seems like a far off ideal, but in divine Mind it is always true.

      1. Thanks RH! The practitioner didn’t mention the name of the article. Looking forward to reading this.

  7. Thank you, Evan, For Giving us this topic to ponder.
    Understanding is key to everything, I believe. When we do not
    understand a situation, (mortally), we can be misunderstood or
    misinterpreted and sometimes unable to communicate our true
    feelings, thus feeling frustrated and can build up mental walls
    (little mind), so we do not have heartbreaks, which mortally speaking,
    can be so devastating.
    Sometimes even one word or visual can set us off, not knowing the whole
    situation. We may very much want to freely give with every Love of
    our being, but don’t know how that may affect others, sometimes,
    because we can not see the entire “mortal” picture.
    Forgiveness of ourselves is something that can be even more challenging,
    if we think we may have harmed others, which of course, is never our
    intention. Looking at it from a spiritual viewpoint is quite easy, but in the
    “real” world, without understanding how things “really” are, can be
    challenging, to say the least.
    I appreciate so much the helpful Truths shared here on this topic and all of
    the others that I learn so much from.

  8. Im learning that if we move, live and have our being in God then no matter how real the error seemed, neither person has ever done anything. The shift of awareness is crucial, I could not for years even want to give forgiveness to a person I know, or see him as the same as me until I stepped back from the whole seperated illusion where nothing has ever happened.

  9. One facet of the issue of [physical or emotional] abuse may also be that the victim would want the victimizer to be held accountable so that the offense is not repeated either on that victim or on other victims, as in the case of multiple abuses committed by the same äuthor. Usually sin is forgiven is the offense has stopped and there is reform ib the part of the criminal. But if the victimizer is now dead, how do we know that he or she has accepted to reform or even wants forgiveness?
    I mean this is not simply a legal issue of course. The victim of abuse may feel closure if the victimizer apologizes or is reformed. But if he/she dies without the victim knowing about his/her desire to change his/her ways, how does the victim find closure?
    I do understand that CS teaches that evil and sin are spiritually unreal, but it also teaches that sin must be forsaken and the sinner must change his/her ways through reform.
    So how do we know that the sinner has reformed?

    1. HI, Helen.
      I hope you can feel the tenderness in my words… we just have to know it’s (reformation) inevitable. I recently watched the episode of The Chosen where Jesus told the parable of the one lost sheep that is pursued by the Shepherd until it’s found.

    2. You can take heart in understanding that all sin self-destructs. It may appear to be in power for a span of time, but inevitably, it comes face to face with the law of God, and is forced to admit its error and concede defeat.

      Reform is inevitable, either here or hereafter. God’s law has the final say, always.

  10. I feel I must share again this incident when I was in high school that hanged my life. I was being threatened with a rape when the Thought came to me “your only hope is to see the god in him” and I did that two times as I looked in his eyes when I was being pulled away to an empty field. He then pushed me and said “okay go on then.”

  11. Thank you Evan for bringing up this thought inspiring topic. It has given me a lot to consider in my experience. And thank you all for the comments and three articles shared.

  12. The words “impersonal depict” sprang into thought this morning regarding forgiveness. So looked it up: “He who gains the God-crowned summit of Christian Science never abuses the corporeal personality but uplifts it. He thinks of everyone in his real quality, and sees each mortal in an impersonal depict.” Ret. 76:25. If we’ve felt hurt in the past as a mortal because of some incident, we might not feel as warm and affectionate towards those who we felt hurt us. Forgiveness means we love them with the Love which is God, not manufacture personal love for them. We see them and ourselves not as faulty persons, but in an impersonal depict in our “real quality” as God’s images.

  13. Thank you Evan. . To me forgiveness is a spiritual tool, it is something we must do at all times. When we understand what God is, and what man is forgiveness can be done in the twinkle of an eye. This is because the person in question has not acted, knowing that God is omni-active, thus an action that causes remorse is not an action. It calls for deep sympathy which leads to forgiveness. I have succeeded in forgiving others by seeing them as the image and likeness of God.

  14. Dear Linda, you are talking out of my heart! Today I had a conversation with a church friend. And during this talk I criticised another member. When we hang up the phone I felt very guilty and became aware that I must forgive m e for criticising, not the other member. And I prayed for forgiveness for me and for being able to see the member in the light of divine truth and love. I feel a bit better .

  15. Thank you, Marge in Arizona, for sharing your experience. A wonderful example of God’s angel messages answering our prayers.

  16. Thank you so much for the helpful insights that were shared.
    In our pursuit of understanding, empathy, justice in being able to
    contribute our comforting individual thoughts freely sometime, even
    though it seems we may be suppressed in standing up for the Truth
    we believe in and would love to share … Forgiveness and perseverance
    and patience is a “choice” we are sometimes forced to take, to I suppose,
    help us grow into a better person … our “cross to bear”, as it were.
    Loving everyone involved, through a spiritual lens, even more is not always
    easy, but Necessary in overcoming limitations that seem to be, even though
    with this spiritual perspective, it is Divinely Natural.

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