As a devoted believer you are urged to strive to develop forgiveness in your heart toward your parents who have abused you in so disgraceful a manner, and to attain a level of insight which sees them as captives of their lower nature, whose actions can only lead them deeper into unhappiness and separation from God. By this means, you can liberate yourself from the anger to which you refer in your letter. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to me, 9 September, 1992)
When I was first reclaiming my memories of extreme childhood abuse, I wanted to be a “good Bahá’í” and didn’t know what that looked like, so I wrote to the House of Justice and this is what they said about how to liberate myself from anger.
The most significant lessons from this quote for me were first, I didn’t need to forgive them directly. I could “strive to develop forgiveness in my heart.” I loved that I didn’t have to instantly forgive as I thought, but as long as I was striving to develop it, I was on the right track. At that time, I couldn’t forgive what I thought was unforgiveable, but I could ask God to forgive my abusers and so I did. Later I asked God for the willingness to be able to forgive and later I was able to forgive them by myself, but it was a process that took many years.
Secondly, I was to see them as captives of their own lower nature, which let me hate what they did and still be able to forgive them for being human and indulging in their lower natures. We all have a lower nature we need to conquer and as long as I could only see theirs, I stayed stuck in anger, but once I realized that we are all sinners, and could see where my lower nature had me stuck, it became easier to forgive them.
There are ways I can let go of anger and get to forgiveness and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness