Both dark matter and forgiveness are difficult to describe because they don’t fit typical descriptions. Neither can be seen through direct observation. Each is only detectable from the effect on the structures in which it’s located.
In the case of dark matter, scientists realized that the speed at which stars spin around in galaxies should make it impossible for them to stay in formation. They should be flying apart – but they weren’t! Something was holding them together. After years of study and the advent of new technologies, scientists now realize that the massive structures that we call galaxies and galaxy clusters in the visible universe are all being held together by the gravitational force of invisible dark matter. They can’t see it. They don’t know its composition. With computer models, they can now calculate that the mass of dark matter must be 6 times greater than the mass of all we can see! All they really know is that without it, the universe as we know it would fall apart.
Forgiveness also seems to be hard to describe. It’s a word that has been used for millennia by many religious teachings, but most people still don’t know what it is. Upon examination, we actually have a clearer idea what it is not versus what it is.
What Forgiveness is Not
- Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing a wrong.
- Forgiveness is not reconciling.
- Forgiveness is not based on whether the wrongdoer apologizes.
- Forgiveness is not conditional. It’s not, “If you do this, then, I’ll forgive you.”
- Forgiveness is not about changing the other person, their actions, or their behavior.
- Forgiveness is not trust. Forgiveness should be freely given; trust must be earned.
- Forgiveness is not a weakness. A lot of strength is required to acknowledge pain, declare it, and forgive it.
As for the effects of forgiveness on the mind and body, the evidence is scientifically supported. Without dark matter the universe would fly apart. Likewise, without forgiveness, the body falls apart. Harmful chemicals generated by negative emotions of unforgiveness, resentment and anger build up in the body. Those chemicals can be the causative factors in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, constipation, sleep disorders and chronic fatigue. Dr. Michael Barry of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America states that of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues.
So, what is forgiveness? To put it most simply, forgiveness is letting go. It is letting go of the anger and shame and blame and need for retribution. Drop it like it’s hot and walk away! The joyful experiences that are yours by birthright are attracted to you more quickly when you can let go of the past, forgive and move on.
Forgiveness is not about changing the past; it’s about changing the future. As Oprah Winfrey likes to say, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”