Today’s post is a bit personal and shares some of the struggles in my journey. No matter how much I tried to progress personally and spiritually, something kept holding me back.
I notice myself easily being brought down by negative news. It’s like a bank, and every negative event that crosses me, I add to that account (with interest). I hold onto these bits of negativity and amass them. After the negativity permeates, boils, and spills over, I spread the frustration I feel to those around me, telling them about whatever injustice it was that took place.1
This is not beneficial, and only spreads the fire of negativity.
“God does not love loudly and openly speaking of evil—except for one who has been wronged—God is all-hearing, all-knowing” (4:148).
When we broadcast the evil around us, without a purpose and plan to correct it, we only end up spreading aimless frustration. This does no good at all and sets our spiritual condition ablaze, taking us back from the nearness to God that we so desperately seek.
In the very next verse is the simple, yet challenging answer to dealing with the negativity that keeps us from growing:
“If you reveal a good deed or hide it, or forgive an evil deed, then (know that) God is certainly ever pardoning and powerful” (4:149).
Forgiveness is the answer. And it’s not just forgiving others who do wrong in the world around us; forgiveness most importantly begins with seeking forgiveness from God for the wrongs we do to ourselves and others and then the very next crucial step is that we forgive ourselves.2
Not being able to forgive makes us hold onto anger, desperation, and pain. Forgiveness helps us transcend into higher levels of development that are just impossible to reach without it.
“Those who spend in prosperity and difficulty and those who restrain their anger and forgive mankind. God loves those who do Good” (3:134).
In my journey, I couldn’t keep a promise I made to myself when I was young (and immature), and never forgave myself for it. Like a fractal pattern, everything starts from within, then manifests outward. By not forgiving myself, I could not truly forgive others. This is what has been holding me back. I kept holding onto whatever negativity came my way because of it.
Seek forgiveness from God, forgive yourself, and forgive others.
I hope that you benefit from this article.
1. For example, if someone wrongs me, then I may speak of it to someone else and end up backbiting, which is terrible and stifles spiritual progress. Also, by aimlessly spreading negative news that hurts me deeply, I fall into the same boat, rowing backwards instead of forwards.
2. “And do not be like those who have forgotten God, so he has made them forget themselves. (Indeed) those are the wicked” (59:19).
Conversely, if we remember God, then he will allow us to remember ourselves. Applying this point to the theme of this article: we remember God and ask his forgiveness, then he allows us to remember our own higher nature. It is our higher nature that forgives our own lower nature. This is how we forgive ourselves for the times that we let ourselves down. If we cannot forgive ourselves, we can never forgive others.