How to tell when you have or haven’t forgiven
I’ve been using these simple criteria for a while now:
When I’ve forgiven, I have no needs. I don’t need that person to do, be or say anything, and I don’t need them to not do, be or say anything.
Love has no needs.
So if I find I need someone to be happy or if I catch myself hoping that they are okay/safe/alive - I know I haven’t forgiven them.
When I have forgiven, I am entirely unattached to outcomes.
I might say now “I hope this helps” - that tells me that I haven’t forgiven all of you, because I need you to be helped. I am attached to the outcome of this email.
Cool huh? With this criteria, I discover so many things that seemed like love, are not. I find my unforgiveness everywhere.
Hat tip: Kenneth Wapnick.
Many of us come to the Course believing forgiveness is only needed for transgressions another did to us or what I did to someone. That is forgiveness to destroy. Forgiveness is the unlearning of what the ego taught us. It does include observing investment in outcomes both “good” and “bad.” Forgiveness to destroy can be found in the additional material of ACIM. If you have an older Course book you do not have all of the Course.
To Marcy re forgiveness to destroy:
Yes, I did not mean to imply that non-attachment to outcomes or a lack of needs is HOW to forgive. Or in the case of forgiveness to destroy, how NOT to forgive.
I think there is also a trap of thinking “forgiveness = good therefore if I do it, the Authority will judge me as good, I’ll be more innocent.”
But we are already innocent. And Innocence has no degrees. It is total and absolute. Forgiveness doesn’t make us more innocent. It only shows us what we really are already.
Back to my original subject: I just meant it as a test to see if forgiveness is complete. I find it very helpful to know when I haven’t forgiven someone or something - it generally explains any apparent difficulties. And I also find it helpful to know when I HAVE forgiven someone, so I know when to stop flogging the same dead horse. Sometimes it’s like M-7 Should Healing Be Repeated? - I’ve already completed my part, but then afterwards doubt creeps in. I could be celebrating but instead I’m attacking myself.