Forgive Them for They Know Not14 Οκτωβρίου, 2022
Most Christians know the rest of this title line. What many do not know is this commandment, which was directed to Jesus’ Father, applies to everyone on the planet as well. It is the first and foremost key to world peace. The cause of violence is unforgiveness. We hold the ignorance of others against them. They hold our ignorance against us. The response of a godly person is always; “Come, let us reason together.” The response of the ungodly is; you inconsiderate, self interested, jerk; it’s time someone teaches you a lesson. One often hears similar expressions as a passenger in city traffic.
On Larry King Live, 20 April, 2003, was a panel of four religious authorities and one spiritualist. The subject was: “Seeking meaning in the aftermath of war.” Larry led off with Deepak Chopra’s excellent response to Larry’s question, essentially: Why despite spiritual leadership, do we repeatedly kill each other over the centuries? Deepak thoughtfully replied that we institutionalize God’s messengers and forget the message. He then gives the characteristics people need to properly pursue the alternatives to war, like love and compassion.
This area alone would have perfectly served the theme for the duration of the program. Larry changed the subject by asking Rabbi Kushner if the latest war in Iraq is a failure of diplomacy. The Rabbi touched upon the subject of this article in response. Only, the Rabbi thought the problem was unforgiveness passed down successive generations of people, which is the problem in its extreme. In fact, unforgiveness is an immediate and perpetual problem. This too would be a fitting topic in response to the subject of the program. Larry again changed the subject. This appears to be his technique to keep the program lively and interesting. He seems to have a set of questions to be answered in the course of an often interrupted program. Twenty questions, click, click, click. As though the questions are always more important than the responses and one response from one of five guests is enough for each question.
Roy Masters, in his book and record, How Your Mind Can Keep You Well, taught the importance to one’s personal health of immediate forgiveness. In guided meditations he teaches us to overlook on the spot and respond to any attack or offense with firmness, kindness, and patience. The idea is to program our subconscious to always respond in this manner. If the people of the world would learn to do this, there would be no war. Instead, people respond automatically, in kind.
On the Larry King show, Deepak would later explain how we are all victims of a long history of fight or flight response to challenge. We must overcome this long tradition with a determined effort to implement deliberate, positive response. The Roy Masters message of pre selected response. We do not focus on how we respond, we focus on how we wish to respond and make that a habit. It’s simple. It works.
Immediate forgiveness grants an instant release of emotional stress. The fight or flight response is not triggered, that no anger flashes and builds with the mental repetition of the event. One keeps personal peace. One retains sanity. To cherish your anger is to bind yourself to its object. To take on the challenge of punishing the world’s wicked requires unforgiveness. A president calls them evil doers as words interchangeable with the meaning of wicked. It would be better if he made the distinction. Evil is simply trouble. An evildoer is a trouble maker. A protester with the “wrong” point of view. A president who repeats failed policies. The wicked are those who do evil for personal gain, be it money or other external trapping. Ambitious evil is wicked. The idea is to ignore the evil on our door steps, so we cast our gaze beyond the oceans. ‘Tis professional magic and illusion.
You and I can spend some money on home security. We can build our house of brick. When the wolf comes to huff and puff at our door, we can stay in till s/he stays away. If he does not stay away long, we become prisoners in our homes. We have other options. We know if we feed the wolf well and often, he will let us walk the land. We become the wolf’s client and we pay for protection from other wolves. We can also counter threaten the wolf by travelling or defending our life and home with a superior force. We take up arms. The wolves go elsewhere after a few well placed warning shots. No harm done. One more option we have is to hunt down all the wolves so no one is ever threatened by a wolf again. In the war on terrorism, the only good wolf is a dead wolf. But an unofficial breeding program guarantees they multiply faster than they are destroyed. It will be the world’s longest war.
Deepak also made the point that America is making war on all kinds of things. He listed four declared wars, missed the war on drugs and all the undeclared, unpublicized wars. The war on environment, on health, on family, on the middle class, the sick, the poor, the war veteran, the prisoner. The list itself has no end. Not as long as we have professional policy makers among us. Deepak’s point went to the war mentality, implying that solving every social problem with a war is a severe case of constricted awareness. He could have been bold, spoken out of turn and taken his point a step further. When a leader of a nation tells you; if I can’t do it my way, killing people is the next best option, he is lying. If you believe the lie, your consciousness is at least as constricted as his. This is what you would like your children to grow up to be? When the blind lead the blind, they both fall in the ditch. Teach your children that.
One says this is World War Three. Some say it is World War Four. Another says it is World War One, which never ends. We only have time outs here and there. Cease fires. Cold wars between the hot. If so, there is no such thing as a preemptive strike. We are just picking up where we left off and Iraq is a perfect example.
We can go beyond forgiveness and we should. We can repent, even as Ronald Reagan told America at his first inauguration. Be truly sorry for the part we play in creating unforgiveness and stop creating it. If we must have crisis to know unity, why not try non violent, forgiveness responses? Why not find unity in separation from foolish, destructive and self destructive policy makers? What if we learn to say, they are going to war or they are sending me to war? What if we stop saying we and identifying with the unforgiveness? What if the unforgiving become the other? Why not unite with those who forgive first and ask questions later? The unforgiveness in America does not originate with government. It is the popular (majority) way of this people first. Government is the global expression. When we forgive, we give more than the violent can take. The person who says he cannot forgive is truly saying he won’t. Haven’t they had things their way long enough? It is such a simple thing to change.