I have read much about forgiveness. Forgiving others and forgiving ourselves are both important for maintaining inner peace and reducing stress. What I have found is how difficult that is when you are trying to be better, improve and forgive yourself but are jeered by those who know your mistakes. It’s like Dan Quayle speaking on the importance of good spelling. Some people just won’t let you live down the mistake. They just won’t forgive you. It’s at these times we have to consciously remind ourselves that the failing is theirs, not ours. If you have acknowledge the mistake, taken responsibility for it, tried to make amends when possible and work to not make the same mistake again, then you can forgive yourself and ignore jeers of those trying to bring you down. Always easier said than done. It’s a process and one that takes work. Just don’t give up and decide they are right or that you might as well just be what they think you are.
but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
One of the benefits of being an atheist is that I can draw from all religious traditions. I am partial to the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament. The guy is compassionate and tried to get people to just be good. One of the most important lessons though is our need to not judge to harshly and forgive whenever possible. It is better to let go of hate and anger rather than carry it around. This is also an tenet of Taoism and Buddhism. In the case of Jesus, he simply reminds us that none of us are perfect; that we each make mistakes sometimes many mistakes, but if you can learn from it and not do it again, he’s ok with you.