On Forgiveness

Forgiveness, for all of its seeming importance to our Christian life, is not well understood, nor is it practiced much.  A major problem is that most have not figured out a definition and therefore have no idea how to implement this wonderful talent that we all have in our lives.  This is the forgiveness ability that we all have: Constantly working to remove unforgiveness-learned behaviors lead to heaven on earth (joy).  Since these unforgiving behaviors have been learned, they can be “unlearned.”
Forgive is not merely a word, it is a concept with perception overtones.  We generally consider it a verb just like any other verb that denotes action; verbs require action to complete the definition.  So, we try and try to make ourselves forgive with little accomplishment.  I consider it much more; rather than being a physical action, it is an inquestion that can only be dealt with in a spiritual manner.
A further complicating factor in exercising our ability to forgive is unconscious psychological pride.  It works this way: If I forgive someone for doing something wrong, other people look at me from behind their own unconscious psychological pride as having done something stupid.  Our unconscious psyche dislikes looking stupid, so we either don’t follow through with forgiveness or we forgive but make the world think we didn’t forgive.  Actually, when a person thinks rationally[1] about forgiveness, unforgiveness begins to dissolve almost immediately, but most of us cannot be rational about forgiveness.  Unforgiveness is such a burden to carry around.  In most cases it doesn’t make any difference in the large scheme of things (spiritual things) (and usually in the small scheme of things such as an activating event that “caused” the forgiveness problem) whether we forgive or not, so why go on using all that energy unforgiving a person?  It is a decision that we have to make—to forgive or unforgive; it is not imposed externally on to us. 
Following I have given the steps that I believe can lead to rational thinking in handling forgiveness.  (The acronyms, A, B, C, etc. are to help in remembering.)  Presented first is a summary of the progression and then the step sequence.
A physical AFFLICTING EVENT activates a cognitive, learned BELIEF BEHAVIOR which signals the body to initiate certain CONSEQUENCE ACTIONS.[2]  The mental then cycles from afflicting event to consequence actions, over and over. Our mind is constantly checking for another afflicting event.  If it perceives the same or a different afflicting event, it always responds with the “appropriate” belief behavior.  If a person wants to change this affliction cycle, he/she must honestly DEBATE (inquestion) the issue within one’s self.  Honest, rational, personal/spiritual inquestioning then leads to an EFFECTIVE CHANGE.  This change is a spitiy down decision and results in FORGIVENESS.  Forgiveness is a reflection of GOD as Spirit working through a person’s mental makeup to his/her body.  If a person works through enough of these imprisoning cycles, he/she can attain freedom leading to HEAVEN (Kingdom Of God) on earth.
A-Afflicting Event  As we grow up, we have many events that occur in our physical lives.  Most of these events are quickly forgotten, but sometimes the actions surrounding the event are so emotionally traumatic that they are seared into our memory.  They will never be forgotten.  Often, the associated trauma is caused by a person or society who says that such an event should cause emotional trauma, but however it is input, it is very real.  Let’s use a simple non-threatening example—a family is walking in a field behind their house and the child sees a beautiful spider and starts to reach for it.  Mother, using her own neurotically learned “truth” about spiders screams to the child to leave it alone and run.  A simple example perhaps, but life is full of extremely un-simple examples—divorce, auto accident, fire, death, etc.  Virtually always, a person is involved as part of the activating event.  This person’s involvement can be peripheral, but mostly it involves specific painful involvement. 
B-Belief Behavior  When the event first occurs, our body goes through a series of emotional/mental gyrations that results in a mental pathway that stays with us as a belief behavior until we change.  Most of these belief behaviors are never changed.  Our society, particularly our Christian beliefs, demands that we blame someone for everything.  When we can’t find a person to blame, we blame God.  Further, blame demands unforgiveness!  Rather than accepting that we do these mental gyrations ourselves, we say that some one caused us to have these behaviors.
C-Consequence Actions  Generally, the consequence action is depression, fear, or anger.  Most persons think that they should be (or even must be) depressed or fearful or angry when afflicting events occur.  I call this a neurotic action.  The actions are remarkably controlled, occurring virtually the same every time.  Even the length of time we are supposed to be neurotic is a part of the consequence actions.  One action seems to enforce the next one until the neurotic action becomes an integral part of our PEMS.  We often even seem to forget the original afflicting event ever occurred allowing unforgiveness to become the overriding emphasis and force.  A major consequence of such a cycle is an unforgiving attitude toward the involved person.  In our society, this unforgiveness is said to be natural, understandable; we are supposed to feel this way.  
Traditional psychological therapy often stops right here.  Rather than seeing a way to reform our neurosis, they work on going back to the original event and reliving it, “working” through it, rationally accepting it.  This is not to infer that such therapy is useless; in fact, it often results in an understanding that gives the person a method for short-circuiting the cycle.   However, it does nothing to present handles for the person toward resolving all such issues, especially unforgiveness.
D-Debate  I contend that we have a body and a spirit.  The spirit is perfect, always giving us positive spiritual (in)sight; it cannot give worldly “advice” as it is not a part of this world.  God (Spirit) works with individuals through our spirit.  True forgiveness emanates from our spirit.  Debating the situation means inquestioning “in the spirit” until we achieve satisfaction.  Each of us will do this differently, but it will always involve the Spirit through our spirit/mental.  Some might call this prayer (I do), but we can’t mix up inquestioning prayer with the verbal prayer we often hear in religious circles.  They are used for two different results.  Debate inquestioning prayer is much more powerful and life changing.  It can only be done individually with individual results.  God works through each of us individually. 
Effective Change  We can expect a change in our thinking behavior when forgiveness occurs.  An effective change means that there is no fear, depression, or anger associated with what previously was an afflicting event.
F-Forgiveness  Forgiveness involves the mental/spiritual (ms) part of self where a person’s mind and spirit mixes.  Forgiveness for me is mutating a worldly belief neurosis (illogical thinking) through spiritual means.  The pain of the afflicting event is a part of our emotional/mental makeup and is caused by the worldly-induced belief that “I am supposed to unforgive!”  Forgiveness is the spiritual acceptance that “I am to forgive my debtors as God has forgiven me of my debts.”  Change worldly irrational judgment into spiritually-lead rationality judgment.  Change self-loathing to God’s spiritual love.  Almost all unforgiveness is connected to self-loathing, to remembering the mental gyrations and concomitant emotional feelings of some past bygone time with the guilt of unforgiveness. 
Nobody ever forgives, in my sense of what forgiveness is, outside of spiritual input.  A person just has to accept the constantly-available offering of the spirit. There is a close relationship between our accepting God’s forgiveness and our ability to forgive.  Acceptance is the key.  God accepts us = we accept others and our self.  God made us just as we are; He accepted us as we were when we were conceived; He still accepts us just as we are today.  Spirit is the real of life, the source of all good, through which we recognize beauty and truth, God in man; forgiveness, thus, is a congenital of the Spirit/spirit. 
G-God (Spirit)  God works through individuals individually.  Such working is generally “sought” by the individual through inquestioning.  God has reminded us in His model prayer that God forgives as we forgive others.  This is not to impose guilt, but to impose the importance of seeking the use of the ability to forgive.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make the natural behavioral response to afflicting events inquestioning toward seeking forgiveness?   I guess we would then not be human.
H-Heaven (Kingdom of God)   I believe that we can have a little of heaven right here on earth.  It is where we are when we are inquestioning; it is where we are when we pray in the spirit; it is where we are when we “use” our conscience to do the “right” things; it is where we are when we forgive.  There are other things involved, but a major part of spiritual satisfaction is involved with forgiveness, and spiritual satisfaction is a part of the Kingdom of God. 

[1] My use of the word rational might be a bit foreign. I define it as “a way of thinking as it really is.”
[2] You might notice that this is a modified expansion of Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Therapy.