Many of the challenges we now face in moving forward in our global society, have to do with the inability to forgive past mistakes. Rather than admit an error in policies or ways of living, societies, communities and people staunchly defend their past choices and continue to cling to them.
It’s my contention that some of our inability to change societal ways is due to a fear of judgment of the past. We don’t want to admit that we could have made mistakes while doing the best we knew how to do in the past, or now.
There are several big problem areas in our world where I think this plays out.
Environmentalism is one of them. When the primary message of environmentalism is against our modern way of life, I think it’s a losing battle. No matter how many reports say climate change is putting human life at peril, American society in particular is choosing inaction on a systems level.
I think one of the reasons that change is slow to come is that there is no agreement to forgive getting ourselves into this predicament in the first place. The truth is that many people around the world still want to live the western way of life for a reason — because it has brought prosperity with it, for many people. Yet, we know that it’s time for a change, and we’re stuck in a sea of judgment from some environmentalists and complacency by those of us who don’t want to see that the time for change is now.
Another area requiring forgiveness is the global treatment of women. I suspect that there were conscious and unconscious trade-offs between men and women that worked for a long time, albeit in a way that sacrificed the lives, rights and property of women for thousands of years. Many men and women still enjoy traditional types of marriage and social arrangements.
As science, technology and access to education and so many other fields of understanding life have developed, the societal rules that treat women as inferior to men became outdated.
Yet, to move forward, we need to have compassion on why many systems of living where women are not given the same rights as men still exist. To change, we need to have an agreement to understand what motivates the oppression of women and forgive. We will not change our world and human hearts until compassion is present for all parties involved.
As we look at our own lives, we have to ask ourselves where we need to forgive our own past choices, and know that we did the best we could. And remember that today is a new day.
This week’s contemplation:
Are there any places in your life where an agreement to forgive the past would allow you to move forward towards a brighter future?