in the nature of God; it is already there. God has already forgiven

you, for God is forgiveness itself. To err is human, and

to forgive divine.' But can you truly forgive yourself? That's

the real question.

"Your feeling of being unforgiven and unforgivable is what

makes you suffer so. But it only exists in your heart or mind.

Haven't you read how in some of the near-death experiences

a great golden presence of light arrives that is all-forgiving?

And it is very often said that it is finally we who judge ourselves.

"In order to clear your guilt, ask for purification from the

depths of your heart. If you really ask for purification, and go

through it, forgiveness will be there. God will forgive you, just

as the father in Christ's beautiful parable forgives the prodigal

son. To help yourself to forgive yourself, remember the good

things you have done, forgive everyone else in your life, and

ask for forgiveness from anyone you may have harmed."

Not everyone believes in a formal religion, but I think

nearly everyone believes in forgiveness. You can be of immeasurable

help to the dying by enabling them to see the

approach of death as the time for reconciliation and reckoning.

Encourage them to make up with friends or relatives, and

to clear their heart, so as not to keep even a trace of hatred or

the slightest grudge. If they cannot meet the person from

whom they feel estranged, suggest they phone them or leave

a taped message or letter and ask for forgiveness. If they suspect

that the person they want to pardon them cannot do so,

it is not wise to encourage them to confront the person

directly; a negative response would only add to their already

great distress. And sometimes people need time to forgive. Let

them leave a message of some kind asking for forgiveness, and

they will at least die knowing that they have done their best.

They will have cleared the difficulty or anger from their heart.

Time and time again, I have seen people whose hearts have

been hardened by self-hatred and guilt find, through a simple

act of asking for pardon, unsuspected strength and peace.

All religions stress the power of forgiveness, and this power

is never more necessary, nor more deeply felt, than when

someone is dying. Through forgiving and being forgiven, we

purify ourselves of the darkness of what we have done, and

prepare ourselves most completely for the journey through


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