Verses 22–23: “And (Jesus) breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’”
I invite you to think about this scripture as a movement within your individual psyche/soul. The literal context of the writing is Jesus speaking to his disciples. When we see the scripture as instruction from the Self/God Within to our self/ego, we see an important truth. When we receive and follow God Within, we forgive ourselves for whatever haunts us, and we move on.
As we forgive ourselves—the adolescent or college kid who did stupid things, the failures, the betrayals to our own truth, our limitations, etc.—our energy shifts. It is cleared, cleaned. We are energized as the old/past loses its power. Feelings of shame and guilt that keep us paralyzed or going in circles release. We are freed to act with conscious choice and to begin thinking, feeling, and moving with our soul’s desires and beliefs. We realize that toxic shame and guilt serve no good purpose, and we begin to cultivate acceptance and forgiveness of our selves.
As we consciously meet the toxic shame and guilt within us, we can see the seed of Self (our total psyche) it holds. We find bits of our self (ego/personality) that hold life-giving energy as we realize every feeling, thought, etc. within us has a seed of the Divine Self.
Where shame and guilt paralyze and keep us stuck in old ways, the seed of the Divine Self has become distorted and fleshed out in a non-life-giving ways. When we see and receive the Divine Spirit within the distortion (of guilt and shame), we connect to the energy/libido to be different—to live more of the reality of our psyche/soul. We can forgive.
The word “forgive” breaks into “for give”; it takes us to compassion. When we give in ways that support and sustain life, we act with compassion. Inherent in compassion is love, which manifests in the felt experience of attraction and magnetism. The feelings of compassion and love always include a “leaning towards” or desire for life-giving connection. This connection comes about through the cycles of creation, equilibrium, and destruction (also known as birth, life, and death).
The energies of creation, equilibrium, and destruction are always at work in creating and sustaining life. Each has its place. Each can be used for life or against life. Forgiveness acknowledges that we sometimes (knowingly or unknowingly) sustain and build up when we need to let go and destroy, or we tear down and tear apart when we need to build up. We hang onto relationships, jobs, habits, thought patterns, beliefs, etc. that destroy our soul’s expression. With words and actions, we tear down our selves, our inner processes, our feelings, experiences, people, places, or situations when building up is needed to sustain and create life.
Open to the power of forgiving yourself. As in the 12 Steps, “Make a searching and fearless moral inventory” in relationship to your self/Self.
Ask God Within to make its presence felt to you, so you may consciously forgive yourself and open to aligning with the life-giving cycle that includes creation/birth, equilibrium/life, and destruction/death. Affirm the power of God Within to help you forgive yourself and live the life that is yours to live.