Sunday, October 2 marked the commencement of Unity’s Fall Book Program, reading and discussing The Power of Forgiveness: Forgiving as a Path to Freedom by Joan Gattuso. Small groups meet weekly into the first week of November, and individuals not part of a Spirit Circle can participate independently with the self-study guide. Sunday Services also follow the same theme through Sunday, November 6: The Power of Forgiveness.
Groups are discussing the first two chapters in the kickoff week, “Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want” and “Forgiveness Points the Way.” Revered Pat Williamson starts us off with his initial thoughts on how forgiveness liberates your soul.
“I so agree with Joan Gattuso, when she states in her book, The Power of Forgiveness, that forgiveness ‘liberates your soul.’ It has for me. Whenever I am disturbed, one of the first things I look at is forgiveness, and ask, Who have I put way outside of my heart today? Who do I need to forgive? And often it is me. And we must first get to that place of self-love and self-care just to feel we are worthy to be forgiven. I have worked with so many that do not feel worthy of forgiveness of self. Healthy self-love is so important. When we love ourselves we are loving the Divine for we are One.
“I once worked with a therapist who had me use the following affirmations: I forgive myself for forgetting that I am worthy and loved; I forgive myself for forgetting to forgive myself. Just these simple affirmations began the process of “liberating my soul,” through self-forgiveness.
“In this world of facts and appearances it is easy to forget that forgiveness is about me, rather than the other person. My ego certainly wants to make it about anything other than me. I’m not saying that the other person is not responsible for the part that they played in the situation, but again it is about liberating my own soul.
Whenever I am disturbed, one of the first things I look at is forgiveness, and ask, Who have I put way outside of my heart today? Who do I need to forgive? And often it is me.
“So often we don’t think that forgiveness has taken place because reconciliation has not taken plan. Believe me, I have allowed my soul to be liberated (thank you, God) without reconciliation with the other person. Once I have done my forgiveness work and made amends, (either to self or to another, or both) it is up to me to decide if I want to reconcile with this person. I may feel that my soul is best served by not continuing my relationship, and yet I must forgive. I believe that my teacher, Jesus, has instructed me to do so.
“And it is also true for the other person for they too have the power of choice to decide to reconcile or not. And as much as perhaps, I want things to be reconciled between the two of us, he/she may chose not to do so. Then perhaps I must continue the forgiveness work even around the reconciliation issue, remembering that forgiveness is about freeing my soul. And then I remember that I want to and deserve to live free from the hurts of the past.
“Once I have done my forgiveness work, I cease to continue to attract those people, places or things into my life. Forgiveness is indeed a pathway to freedom. Forgiveness liberates my soul, and allows me to live a life of joy and happiness.
“When I am disturbed or upset it is because I am disturbable and upsetable, and it is a sign to ask the question, Who do I need to forgive in order for my soul to be free? I remember that Unforgiveness harms me. That is why I teach and believe that forgiveness is a way of life.”
Blessings, dear friends.