By Maria de Lurdes Duarte

Is forgiveness still possible?

There are times when anguish seems to take over our soul and it wants to destroy everything, including the will to live, to fight and, even more, to forgive. This happens at the individual level, but it also happens at the collective level, in groups, institutions, and nations.

With all the alarming news that enters us, at all times, from inside houses, through the media and social networks, it is easy, nowadays, to let ourselves be overcome by negativism.

When we tried to keep hope in a better world, conquered through sacrifices and works that, we believed, brought us a little closer to the world we dreamed of... When we tried to keep hope that the wars that still tormented certain planetary zones were remnants of human imperfections, but that would tend to disappear. Thus, we could finally feel that we were approaching that planetary transition that we are waiting for... When we started to have some faith in humanity and in its technological and scientific achievements, which could lead us to a closer approach and easier exercise of solidarity, collaboration and sharing…

When all this eluded us, or we allowed ourselves to be deceived by the appearance of well-being and false security, a war broke out in the middle of Europe - a continent that we thought was far above this type of event. The world was still barely out of an epidemic that devastated it and changed the habits of life of the majority, leaving us more fragile). In full 21st century, a great country decides to invade another, to claim territories that do not belong to it, as if we were in the middle of the barbarian conquests, of the Middle or Ancient Ages.

They do not seem to us to be events worthy of the 20th century that we crossed. It does not seem to us to be an attitude of a civilized country, of a people dedicated to science, research, and art, inhabited by a worthy and dignified people. We fail to understand the need, if there could be any, to spread so much pain and suffering, to destroy entire cities, to kill left and right, to torture, rape, separate families, drive so many millions to take refuge in unknown lands, destroy hospitals, maternity hospitals, and use civilians as easy targets. It all seems too undignified, too barbaric. Furthermore, all this in the face of a “civilized” world that watches, if not serene, at least apparently undaunted. Fear invades everyone and no one dares to do anything that could make the situation even worse, which is already catastrophic and almost impossible to solve.

It is not at all easy, to let despair take over us. However, the people targeted in this catastrophe, the Ukrainian people, have given us examples of courage, resilience and even positivism in the midst of the pain that reaches them. Following his example, we must maintain hope and continue to face the difficulties that we face in this life of trials and expiations, with courage, strength and resistance to the temptations that arise along the way.

One of these temptations, the one that we intend to approach more closely in this article, will be that of non-forgiveness. Letting hatred, hurt, the desire for evil and revenge enter our soul, like a dense and penetrating fog, is the easiest attitude of all, the one that requires the least work from us. What we do not understand, everything we do not reach with our limited minds, is a potential generator of conflicts, hurts, and hatred. If we can understand the other's reasons, forgiveness becomes easier. However, if the arguments do not convince us, if we do not find the reasons for what hurts us or hurt those we love, we take refuge in the thirst for revenge and retaliation. Moreover, without a doubt, we are faced with events and reasons that surpass us in such a way that we cannot help but feel indignant.

These are very dangerous feelings that we analyze here. Dangerous for whom? For the “enemy”, for the one who offends, spreads evil, tortures, kills, destroys and spreads all kinds of suffering? Yes, certainly, but… not only. These are very dangerous feelings for everyone. However, essentially for the victims and for those of us who feel in solidarity with the victims. The greatest danger, the great danger of the inability to forgive, is that of immobilizing those who pretend to be good people, in forces that destroy character, sentiment, courage, human and spiritual dignity.

On a spiritual level and even on a psychological and physical level, every good feeling generates well-being, health, happiness, harmony, emotional balance, which strengthens us to face difficulties and gives us resilience. Good attracts good. Hope and faith attract hope and faith. Thoughts of health, love, forgiveness, balance, empathy, attract similar forces. We tune in, on all levels, to those who are similar to us in feeling.

On the contrary, bitterness, disappointment, disgust, ill-will, the desire for revenge, hatred, the thirst for retaliation, generate imbalance because they bind forces that, around us, and through infinite space, have similar feelings and yearn to make use of us for the realization of their less worthy intentions. Without knowing it, we are so often not only accomplices, but also instruments of the vilest acts, because we attract those who share the same feelings. Therein lies the great danger. We all have experiences that prove it. What often happens is that, due to lack of knowledge, we are not attentive and do not analyze our own experiences. When we have some bad feeling towards someone, when we emit negative thoughts, when we tune in to evil, we feel sick, and we become low and unbalanced, without realizing the reason. The malaise that so often assails us in an inexplicable way is not infrequently due to less pleasant company that we enjoy, because we ourselves call them.

Who wins, then, if we are not able to overcome the grudge and the hurt and let ourselves be carried away by the inability to forgive? Nobody, least of all us. Forgiving is not an act of generosity towards others. Or rather, it can also be, but that is not all. Forgiving is, above all, an act of releasing the negative feelings that we hold onto and that increase our own suffering.

Jesus knew this when he advised to forgive enemies. He knew the ties to which we all cling and that impede our spiritual growth, ties of deep pain that have chained us for millennia and do not let us see beyond the smallness of the feelings we are used to and that unbalance us and cause us unhappiness.

However, it is worth clarifying: Forgiving is not excusing the executioner. Nor fail to support the victim. It is not to condone evil. Nor stop fighting for the good. Whoever is not indignant with evil, whoever accepts the error, contributes to suffering and pain to remain indefinitely. Good only spreads through the action of all. Building a better world is everyone's duty and it is, indeed, an act of courage and strength of character. The Spiritist, following the example of Jesus, will never be able to condone evil, disrespect, insensitivity to the pain of others. We have a duty to be active in the construction of good.

Forgiveness is not just the absence of rancor and revenge. Forgiveness is an active struggle for harmony, a struggle with the only weapons we have the right to use: the weapons of good, of prayer, of love, of solidarity.

Let us have the courage to free ourselves. Let us leave each one with his actions and with the good or bad feelings, he harbors in his heart. Let us leave it to God to judge all and to give to each according to what he deserves. Moreover, let us be active in the good, if we consider ourselves true Spiritists, true Christians, or, simply, good men and women.

If forgiveness is freedom, it is time to say, let us forgive. We deserve to free ourselves through forgiveness

Eleni Frangatos - eleni.moreira@uol.com.br



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita