the presence of forgiveness

What is the color of forgiveness? How big is it? What scent does it carry? If forgiveness walked up to me and smacked me in the head, would I even recognize it?

In all my explorations of personal growth and desire to connect with divine grace and eternity, forgiveness has been an elusive concept defined for me through the perceptions of others.

This word and its watery definition has caused me all sorts of problems and been the root of justified abuse. The religion in which I was raised insisted that we forgive others for their transgression, but often people used it as a rationalization to cause further hurt; in their minds, they could do whatever they wanted because “God would forgive them.” I came to believe that forgiveness is nothing more than a cheap way out for people who don’t want to change or be held accountable for their behavior.

I don’t see any need to “forgive” someone of their human nature. I have hurt others out of my ignorance and stupidity, and have said I was sorry, made amends, and worked to not harm another. However, I know I continue to say or do things that, when viewed by another’s perception, are harmful to them or others. (Anytime I see a cheap, useless trinket that has a tag that reads “Made in Japan” or “Made in China” or “Made in Taiwan” I feel a twinge of remorse that someone has to make such things to be able to exist and I am actually torn between buying it so that person would continue to have a job or not buying it because it serves no purpose and simply perpetuates the problem.)

I would prefer to accept us for all our humanness. But I don’t forgive anyone who purposefully harms another with knowledge and intent — that, for me, is enabling them to continue that behavior. My forgiveness in those cases consists of removing my presence from theirs. I do not have to let those people back into my life. I love me too much.

Forgiveness means to let myself off the hook of being responsible for anybody else’s behavior. My eternal presence nudges me to “let it go, let the incident go, let go your feelings to blame yourself or to seek revenge. We’ve other things to move on to.”

But I come to find that I do not have an honest, working mechanism of forgiveness for myself. I don’t know what forgiveness sounds like, looks like, or feels like. I know what it does not feel like. I still walk through life with ancient strings tied to my emotions over incidents long past and feel the same sorrow, emptiness, hurt, and pain as if the incident had only occurred yesterday. I continue to hurt myself through my memories.

My eternal presence does not urge me to pray for anyone to change their energy to what I think it should be. People are entitled to have the energy they have chosen. What I am hearing from my presence is that I need to view life from another person’s perspective and know that I can never really, truly perceive their experience accurately. I can only glimpse a fragment of how I might be and act given that person’s circumstances and beliefs. That is full of guesswork and projection. From my limited human point of view, I must find the God struggling to become within them.

And then I will be able to see the God struggling to become in me.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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9 Responses to “the presence of forgiveness”

  1. holessence Says:

    “From my limited human point of view, I must find the God struggling to become within them. And then I will be able to see the God struggling to become in me.”

    Barbara, you’ve painted a profound picture of forgiveness here.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie — finding God in others (because we all come from the divine universal consciousness) helps remind me that none of us are exempt from our humanness. I am sure there are people out there with a litany of grievances against me (Bethany’s list probably is miles long). I am about to send her the two books by don Miguel Ruiz “The Four Agreements” and “The Fifth Agreement” with a letter asking for her forgiveness.

  2. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:




  3. holessence Says:

    Barbara – That is wonderful news! And whether Bethany chooses to give forgiveness, or not, you have taken the high road. A humbling, more difficult road to walk, to be sure, but it has a nicer view, the air is much fresher, and the energy has a beautiful vibration.

  4. jeffstroud Says:


    a very powerful thoughtful observational presence!

    “From my limited human point of view, I must find the God struggling to become within them.

    And then I will be able to see the God struggling to become in me.”

    Well said, and as Laurie has pointed out a profound picture of forgives.

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — the longer I am experiencing this life, the more I am aware that we ARE God, because we are all One. It has been difficult for me to get beyond our separateness and the me vs. you mentality. Realizing that my forgiving another allows me to forgive myself has helped me mend that separation.

  5. sandiwhite Says:

    I am glad to hear that you will offer the olive branch to Bethany and even help her to find it within herself. Mother-Daughter relationships can become so terribly complicated when we discover that we are not the person we thought we were – viewed through the eyes of our children. I am astonished at how close Missy and I have become, we both had to ask forgiveness of the other to bridge that gap between us. We are not of the same generation, never will be contemporaries, but we’ve found a place where we can be friends. I hope that you and Bethany will find neutral ground to stand on – together. This is where selective memory is very useful! There are some people I feel I can never forgive, but that is something the M. of U. and I are going to have to work on.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Sandi – I am glad for you and Missy to have worked together so that you can have a relationship. I am hoping that Bethany is at least staying away from drugs because that is the only way I would be able to relate to her. When someone is trying to talk to a person on drugs, they aren’t talking to the person — they are talking to the drug. Regardless, it is what I need to do so I can at least get past the problem. And I believe it is the God in me reaching out to the God in her.

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