The Practical Side of Forgiveness

All of this is wrapped up in what is for me a very serious philosophical question:  what does it mean to be a better person?

Interestingly, different religions may define this slightly differently, so it may be worth reflecting on this question in its religious context.

On the practical side, it’s a long list, but the point is to say kind words to all those on the list.  Sometimes it’s an email, sometimes it’s a phone call.   Also, some reflections on wrongs against more general categories, and ways that I can acknowledge, and improve my behavior.  So here’s the list.

1) Immediate family.  Parents, siblings, cousins, nephews, in-laws.

2) Ex-spouse.  Friends and family.

3) Friends.

4) Teachers, bosses, and former colleagues.

5) Former roommates.  High school classmates, etc.

6) Immediate neighbors.

For the list of more general categories, I came up with:

1) animals – have I cared for my animals properly? have I hurt any animals?  have animals been hurt to feed my hunger?

2) the environment – have I respected other plants and animals?  have I respected the common media that we need to survive such as air, and water, and clean soil? have I been wasteful?

3) poor people – have I done what I could for those who are without food or water or shelter or health care or mobility?

4) disadvantaged people – have I remembered and respected the elderly?  have I helped to educate the children to grow into good people?  have I used my abilities to help those who are mentally or physically less able and want my help?  have I helped the sick when they have wanted help?

5) political – have I done what I could in good conscience for those governing agencies around me to improve them? have I forgiven those times when I have been hurt?  have I remembered those who have been imprisoned?  have I fought for the release of political prisoners of conscience? have I been peaceful?

6) those that are of diverse languages, countries, colors, sexual orientation, or religions – have I tried to communicate with others who do not speak the same language?  have I welcomed the foreigner?

7) life – have I done what I could to respect life and health?  have I been respectful of boundaries of influence when it comes to others?

8) myself – have I treated my body and mind with respect? have I striven for excellence in all that I have attempted?

A Human Rights Letter

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