Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Questions or Forgiveness Revisited

Do the actions of others affect my own?
Most definitely. "No man is an island." I do not exist in a vaccuum. I react emotionally, often easily affected by the influences exerted on me by others. My reactions are often extreme and inappropriate, resulting in the opposite of what I hope for. Sometimes my reactions are even detrimental to myself.

Should they?
Probably not. But I have yet to achieve perfection.

What controls my actions? Free Will?
I believe in free will. I believe that I have the capability of controlling my own actions. I know that I make wrong choices at times. I know that I sometimes treat others unfairly. My judgment may be clouded by emotion. My consciousness may lack the maturity to choose appropriate actions.

Divine Influence?
I have experienced the perception that God was influencing my behavior in the past through the influence of the Bible or the "Holy Ghost". I have alternately acted with or against this perceived influence. In retrospect, I attribute this influence to factors like emotion or exhortations from peers or spiritual leaders. The moral principles found in the Bible are ingrained in me by culture and upbringing, therefore when I act on them, I am responding to the influence of other people.

Am I correct to judge others by their past actions?
Past events are the best predictor of future events. I would be a fool to expect others to act in a manner incongruous with their past behavior. It seems inhuman to me to forget past behavior. However, I accept the possibility that others may change. Proof of change is necessary to alter my judgment. This does not make me right to judge. Judging others may
be detrimental to myself. If I do not use past actions to judge others by, I risk suffering a repeat of the same insult. If I judge others too harshly, I risk ruining all hope of finding good in others.

Must I forgive others to receive forgiveness myself?
Yes. If I expect my own shortcomings to be forgiven, it would be consistent for me to forgive shortcomings or disappointments in others. A world where noone forgave anyone else would be insufferable.

If so, from whom do I receive forgiveness?
I receive tacit forgiveness from others all the time for simple things like social fopaws or traffic blunders. jc overlooks a multitude of my shortcomings. Others I am in contact with certainly must do the same.

If I accept the presumption that God has forgiven me, does it indeed make it easy for me to forgive others?
First, I don't accept the presumption. Assuming that I did, the presumed nature of God is so much different from my own, that it would be difficult for me to act in the same manner that he does. Ease of forgiveness is more determined by factors like seriousness and repetitive nature of the insult.

Does the fact that I have done wrong help me accept errors in others?
Most definitely, but with limitations determined by my perception of my relationship with others and the nature of their offenses.

R. Connors

postscript I hope to achieve forgiveness in the present situation, if not for the benefit of the offender, certainly for my own well-being. I just haven't completely gotten there yet. What was taken away can never be replaced or corrected.


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