The Logic of Spirituality – Forgiveness and Acceptance

December 17, 2008

On Sunday I was at a gathering where the speaker talked about forgiveness.  It was a very good speech and there were a number of good points made about the idea of forgiveness.  During the discussion I made a point that connected forgiveness and acceptance – which will be the subject of today’s post.



I have yet to write a post for this site that specifically addresses forgiveness.  However we have touched on it in several posts.  I promise to write a post on forgiveness soon.  For now let’s take a quick look at forgiveness.


There are a few interesting misnomers about forgiveness.  One is that if we forgive someone then they are supposed to do something for us.  When we expect something back because we are forgiving, then we are not being in the moment.  Any action we take where we have an attachment or expectation of a specific outcome will always cause us sadness and pain.


An interesting thing about forgiving is that most of the time we are actually forgiving ourselves.  I have found this to be particularly true.  As I have learned to forgive other people I have also learned to forgive myself.  In forgiving myself I am then much more able to forgive others.  This is a very positive circle of self improvement and empowerment.


Finally, many of us think that if we forgive something that means we agree with it.  This idea came up at Sunday’s discussion.  The specific idea was that one person said they could never forgive Hitler.  The point was made that there is a difference between forgiving and condoning.  We must learn to forgive but not condone.



To me, acceptance is another way of forgiving.  I wrote a bit about this in the earlier post titled “I Accept It – But I Don’t Like It”.  There are similarities here to the previous idea of the difference between forgiving and condoning.


As far as I am concerned, acceptance is the same thing as unconditional love.  We use the word “love” for far too many things.  When I use the word love I usually clarify what I am saying by using the term unconditional love.  By saying this I am making “love” a specific action, not an emotion.


The logic

Here is the spiritual logical link between these two terms.  When I am practicing forgiveness then I am also loving unconditionally.  If am not able to forgive someone then I am also putting conditions on the way I love them.  I am saying that you did something for which I cannot forgive.  I can only love you if you do something to change whatever it is for which I cannot forgive you.


This is actually a very large condition – I cannot love someone when I cannot forgive them.  In order to be forgiving we must love unconditionally.  In order to love unconditionally we must be forgiving.


Extra credit

Today’s extra credit idea is about forgiving ourselves.  When we cannot forgive someone else for something it usually is because we cannot forgive ourselves for the same thing.  Think about it.  Please submit a comment if you want to discuss it further.


Until tomorrow –


Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.




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