Forgiveness: A Doorway to Freedom

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

As a church consultant I tell leaders and boards to let your people know what you as a board are thinking about and working on so that when you bring it to them, they are not hearing it for the first time. So I get to practice what I preach.

Over the years Unity Center for Spiritual Growth’s name has evolved. Many of you probably don’t even know that the Charter name is Unity Church of Truth. I don’t know the history of when it began doing business as Unity Church of Greater Portland. In 2016 when we revised our bylaws, we dropped the word “Church.” What we are now thinking of adding is this: Unity Center for Spiritual Growth Spiritual Center. How does this resonate with you? Do you hear this as a broader definition of who we are and the values we represent? We want to hear from you since this is a decision we all want to feel is right. Talk with me or a Board member about your thoughts.

Forgiveness was the message this past Sunday. Here are root meanings of forgiveness from Aramaic, Greek and English…to cancel, untie or let loose, to lay aside, not to grasp.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said: “When we forgive another person, we are really saying, I no longer give you the power to control how I think, feel or behave. I now take responsibility for myself.”

Over the years many books have been written about forgiveness. In The Energy of Money book, coach and author Maria Nemeth says this about forgiveness:

“What people do is what they do. I believe that everyone believes what they’re doing, in the moment, is the “right” thing to do. You can’t always know a person’s motivations. If they did it deliberately to hurt you, they must have had their own good reason for it. This is, by no means, at all, excusing bad or miscreant behavior. It is only to say that the reasons why are irrelevant. They belong to someone else and they do not alter what has happened.”

She goes on to say: “It’s a bit like splitting the bonds of an atom, and the net effect is movement and power on your path toward your dream. You will move more quickly on your path if you forgive.” Bottom line: Forgiveness is an inside job. Forgetting is not a part of the equation. Neither is confessing. Remembering helps you to heal and supports you in the future. The person you are forgiving doesn’t even need to be present in your life or on the planet. But forgiveness can free up energy for you.”

I found the need to do forgiveness work while in seminary to free up my energy in order to live without judgment and blame. I shared my story on Sunday.

If you are holding non-forgiveness toward someone, give yourself the gift of forgiveness so that you too may know the great joy that is the result of living without judgment or blame.

As Mohandas Gandhi said, “The weak never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Forgiveness is about our freedom, not others.”

In the book Forgiveness Therapy, David W. Schell sums up the forgiveness process when he says: “Forgiveness takes courage and determination. Dig deep and you will find the strength you need.”

This coming Sunday is on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; we have a special service planned that focuses on peace and has an element of creativity that you will want to join in on.

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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