Forgiveness: Courage Through the Divine Spark
Courage. We typically think of it when we think of someone being unyieldingly strong in the face of something that is formidable: Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt. Everest. Or maybe the image of a cancer survivor who never lost hope while enduring the pain and uncertainty of their treatment comes to mind. Stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things against seemingly impossible odds are also synonymous with courage. Without doubt, courageous acts such as these are wonderful and inspire hope and courage in others and bring people close to the divine spark.
Forgiveness is probably not a word that comes to mind when thinking of courage. It generally means to let go of anger, resentment, or hostility against someone for a mistake or transgression. What if that transgression or mistake has caused serious pain, grief, or considerable suffering? Imagine the courage that a person must have to let that go; not only the courage to forgive the transgressor, but the courage to stand tall against the possibility of overwhelming pressure from those around them to demand retribution or to hold onto the anger. As The Fuji Declaration states, “The time has come for all people to become courageous pioneers—to venture beyond their personal, cultural, and national interests and beyond the boundaries of their discipline, and to come together in wisdom, spirit and intention . . .”
When we turn to the divine spark within us, we receive the courage to do things that at first we thought too difficult or maybe even impossible. Forgiveness is a conscious decision and the divine spark gives us the courage and capability to forgive in exceptional circumstances and allows us to heal emotionally. Furthermore, forgiveness has been studied and there is evidence to support that when we forgive, it benefits our physical health. It also allows us to recognize that we are all connected, as we all need forgiveness. When we let go of resentment, anger, and hostility, we free our spirit. This permits us to truly connect with those around us, fully embrace the divine spark within us, and to realize our oneness with diversity.
Typically, forgiveness is thought of as a private and individual process. It is, but we can also forgive as a group. When we forgive through our oneness, its collective power and that of the divine spark is amplified. Forgiveness is now being studied and considered a tool in social, public, and political arenas. To achieve true world peace, we must forgive as a collective, not just as individuals. As we break down individual barriers, we must also break down social, cultural, and political barriers.
Forgiving can be difficult, but when we make the choice to forgive and we embrace the divine spark within us, we receive the courage to grant forgiveness. Forgiveness is an integral element of both individual and world peace. It allows for healing at the individual level as well as at the collective level. By practicing forgiveness through the divine spark within us we free our human spirit and we live and love in a way that helps create a lasting peace on Earth.