A while back, I entered into a verbal agreement with someone and when my work was finished (which involved a considerable amount of time and effort) she said that we did not have an agreement. I was so stunned that I couldn’t sleep for an entire night. I went over and over the grievance, replayed her words in my head…felt the anger of betrayal until I was exhausted. A part of me (a big part!) did not want to forgive her, but for me, forgiveness is not an option. I asked Spirit for help and within a few days, I could see that her not paying me was her problem, I could also see and feel the chaos that she was in. The feelings of anger did not go away immediately. I made the decision to forgive knowing that, if I did not entertain the negative thoughts when they came (which they did), eventually my feelings would line up with my higher ideal, and they did.
I absolutely love the scene in the movie, Les Miserable, where the Bishop, who has been hit on the head with his own silver candlestick, robbed, and left for dead by Jean Valjean, (a man whom the bishop had invited to stay the night), is given the opportunity to punish Valjean. The police catch him and bring him triumphantly to the Bishop. But the Bishop does not play the role of victim. He tells the police that he gave the silver to Valjean. They have no choice but to release him. Then, the Bishop says to Valjean,:
“JeanValjean my brother, you no longer belong to evil. With this silver, I have bought your soul. I’ve ransomed you from fear and hatred, and now I give you back to God.”
The Bishop could have been a victim, could have had Valjean thrown in jail for life, told the story over and over about how he had been misused. He could have played the small role, become afraid of strangers, shrunk his life down so much that his story of victimization was all that he had room for, eventually becoming, and attracting even more of, the very essence (fear and hatred) of the awful thing done to him. He made a different choice and you can tell that this man’s world would continue to expand. There is such power in taking the high road. Even though the Bishop was a fictional character, I have heard of and seen great acts of forgiveness in my own life, and they always leave me with a sense of awe and admiration.