Carol Anne Perini, RScP
Alexander Pope said, “To err is human(e), to forgive Divine.”
Much is written about the poet’s intentions but personally and in my humble opinion, I take this to mean something like this: As humans we make mistakes but those who forgive mistakes are the chosen few.
People sometimes say to me, “I just wish I could get rid of my ego.” I chuckle knowing that getting rid of my ego means that my physical presence may not be cared for properly. The ego protects us from predators, reminds us to stay warm or cool, to go indoors or find shelter if it is raining or snowing or tornado-ing, eat when we are hungry. The ego takes care of us, keeps our physical countenance safe while keeping us alive. The challenge that most people are referring to is the ego-gone-awry. The ego that thinks it is better than, more than, deserving more than, taking more than others, judging others. As Pope says, to err is human.
He also reminds us that “to forgive (is) Divine.” Many understand this to mean that forgiveness comes from Divinity, which I heartily agree with. What if you had a parent who harmed you or a neighbor who hurt you in some manner, or a postman who yelled at you for some reason, or a friend who rejected you? Your ego would or could, no doubt, be bruised in some way. Remember, it’s the ego’s job care for us, to keep us safe. Perhaps you perceived that hurt as intentional, directed at you. Pope reminds us to forgive and that forgiveness is Divine.
I suggest a little step in between erring and forgiving. Talk to another person. Perhaps a friend or counselor or practitioner or your minister. Talk to another person, come to an understanding about where this feeling of rejection or fear or betrayal or anger lives in you. Talk until you feel complete and then when you are ready, forgive. You are not forgiving the act nor the result of the act, you are forgiving the person, seeing their innocence, recognizing the Divine within them. Jesus said from the cross, “Forgive them Father for they no not what they do.” If you can forgive another, the good news is that you can forgive yourself. We each need forgiveness in many ways. This is a great place to start.