Forgiveness Level 3

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Level three.

There is no one to offend.

You may have had the experience of someone coming up to you and asking for forgiveness. Maybe your reply was: “Don’t worry about it there is nothing to forgive.” When I have said this what I really meant was, the offence was so small that I hardly even noticed it. But I did notice it at the time, but considered it a “slight infraction.” Certainly not enough to get all riled up about. Heck I was going to save my real anger for something major. What ever that may be and it was totally up to me to determine what it was.

When I say there is no one to offend I mean there is absolutely no one there that can be offended anymore, whether large or small. There is no such thing as a small offense they are all the same and rob us of our peace of mind and set us up for a chance at retaliation. Attack and counter attack—the worlds way of doing things.

You, are not there. You have died to your ego self/sin nature. In level two the Buddha instructed us to “observe the impermanence of all dharmas.” Here dharmas refers to all mental constructs one of which is: “I am a body.” This identification includes all our perceptions arriving from our association with the body fed to us by the bodies senses. Our sense orientation enables us to survive in this world and our gratefulness for the process naturally attaches us to the physical realm. The down side of this is the fear of not surviving in the physical. This is the foundation upon which our ego/sin-nature builds it’s protective shell. Any threat to our well being is seen as an attack against and a threat to our survival, mentally, physically and spiritually, which of course we try to defend either by running away from the danger or attacking our perceived enemy.

When I say; “I am something.” we immediately identify with it. We do this hundreds maybe even thousands of times a day. “I am, hungry, cold, a boss an employee, a wife a husband, etc., on and on. And we are always on the lookout for threats of any kind—“I am being attacked.” Or “I am safe.” Or “I am defending myself.” But who is the one saying “I am” this or that? Is this “I am” separate from that which it identifies with. Saying I have a body is the same as I have a car. This body is mine and this car is mine and these kids are mine, but “Our life does not consist of the things we posses.”, according to Jesus.

Everything we identify ourselves with will disappear. That which we identify with: are our dharmas, our teaches our creations, mental constructs and imaginations. Every offense we suffer is directed at these impermanent identifications. We are very attached to them. We love them and they are very dear to us. We are their guardians and the loss of anyone of them we consider an affront to our very life because we are convinced they are us. Each loss no matter how difficult is a blow to the ego self that has convinced us we are this small self, an aggregate of all those things we identify with not the least of which is our thoughts about it all.

We are not our thoughts either. Having a thought is the same as having a car, a house, a body, our thoughts are not us. This includes our beliefs, Our beliefs are an aggregate of many thoughts under one heading just like this blog I am writing, God is not a Bully and all the subsequent posts underneath this heading and all the sentences, phrases and words—this particular belief system—is not me. But to write this I have had to throw out many other belief systems that I identified with at one time or another. I have been told that if I am persistent thoughts will stop too.

Luke 9.23 Then Jesus said to all the people:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. 24 If you want to save your life,[f] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it.25 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life?  [CEV]

The denial of the self is precisely the death of the ego self/sin nature which believes we need all this stuff but Jesus points out

this hoarding of stuff will only accomplish the opposite of what we want and destroy us.

Can one who has died be offended? Does a dead person need to defend itself?

.

Paul was able to say in Hebrews:

13.6“The Lord helps me! Why should I be afraid of what people can do to me?”

He said this eleven years after he wrote the following to the Corinthians:

2 Cor. 11.24 “Five times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes with a whip. 25 Three times the Romans beat me with a big stick, and once my enemies stoned me. I have been shipwrecked three times, and I even had to spend a night and a day in the sea.26 During my many travels, I have been in danger from rivers, robbers, my own people, and foreigners. My life has been in danger in cities, in deserts, at sea, and with people who only pretended to be the Lord’s followers.

27I have worked and struggled and spent many sleepless nights. I have gone hungry and thirsty and often had nothing to eat. I have been cold from not having enough clothes to keep me warm.28 Besides everything else, each day I am burdened down, worrying about all the churches.29 When others are weak, I am weak too. When others are tricked into sin, I get angry.

The apostle Paul tells us in Galatians that he is crucified with Christ, that he is dead and all his life is lived by the Christ who lives in him. This was written 3 years before the description he gave of his life as an Apostle.

Who is left to offend once you are dead?

Very few people make it to this level of consciousness during one lifetime. According to Dr David R. Hawkins, this is the stratosphere of the saints, enlightened ones, avatars, Jesus, Buddha’s, Gandhi’s This is the place of complete unreserved surrender to God.

It is said of Gandhi that when he was murdered he held out his had to his assailant in the Hindu gesture of forgiveness.

Peter says of Jesus; “Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly.”

But what is important is that we are on the way. We will spend most of our time learning to walk the second mile, learning to love our enemies and turn the other cheek even those things are more than enough one life.

Our education will continue.

Echoing Paul who says in Ephesians 6.12, We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.

I’d like to wrap up this writing on forgiveness with a beautiful quote by Tich Nhat Hanh from his book “The Diamond that cuts through Illusion.”

During the height of the Vietnam war In 1967—after hearing of some of his students being killed—he wrote this to them who were considered enemies by both sides because of their pacifists commitment.

“I wrote a poem for the brothers and sisters at the School and asked them to read it carefully. In that poem I told them never to look at anyone with hatred, even if they hate you, suppress you, kill you, or step on your life as if you were a wild plant or an insect. If you die because of violence, you must meditate on compassion in order to forgive those who killed you, the title of the poem is “Recommendation.”

Promise me,

promise me this day,

promise me now,

while the sun is overhead,

exactly at the zenith,

promise me:

Even as they

strike you down

with a mountain of hatred and violence;

even as they step on you and crush you

like a worm

even as they dismember and disembowel you,

remember, brother,

man is not your enemy.

The only thing worth of you is compassion—

invincible, limitless, unconditional.

Hatred will never let you

face the beast in man.”

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