Perhaps I was able to forgive E. for his transgressions because I realized that he was, at that point in his life, incapable of providing me with the support I needed. He was young, his parents were healthy and he didn’t have any idea what it’s like to have aging, feeble parents in their late 80’s. Regarding our relationship in general, he gave me what he had to give. How can I ask for more? It took me a while to come to this realization, but I see it clearly now. I hope that I would be granted the same forgiveness for my limitations as well.
Forgiveness becomes easier once we realize that our humanness makes us imperfect. When we judge others on our own personal values and standards, that person often doesn’t rise to our expectations. We are all at a different location on the path and we need to attempt to judge those who disappoint us based on their locus – not ours. We need to judge each action based on that person’s current capabilities – not ours.
Our ability to forgive is also rooted in our current position on the path. None of us has the wisdom of the Buddha or the forgiving nature of a Jesus. We are working through it – striving to be better. As I grow, my ability to forgive expands. Perhaps ten years ago, I would have spat out some hurtful retort to E., thick with my anger, but not today – not today.