What Is Forgiveness and Why Do You Need It? by John Cali

Auschwitz, Nazi Prison Camp

I have a childhood friend, Sue (not her real name) who hates her mother. And her mother’s been dead for years! But Sue has not let go of her hatred. It’s killing her—literally. Her health is a shambles.

I knew Sue’s mother very well. We were close friends, despite the difference in our ages. She was not the monster Sue remembers her as. But even if she had been, is it worth it to Sue to keep killing herself bit by bit?

Dr. Robert Brooks talks about his childhood memories of two family friends, a couple, who lived in Nazi Germany during World War II. They told a horribly chilling story of their infant niece. One day a Nazi soldier took the baby and tossed her up in the air, catching her on his bayonet as she fell and slaughtering her right before her family’s eyes.

I cannot imagine that kind of horror. And I could understand if the family harbored hatred for that Nazi soldier and others like him. Their acts were truly monstrous, unlike my friend Sue’s mother’s actions, which were benign by comparison.

But does any act, no matter how monstrous, justify harboring hatred and withholding forgiveness? Both the harboring and the withholding are choices we can freely make—or not.

Here’s Spirit.


Hatred and resentment are always rooted in the past. They do not exist in the present moment. So when you hate you’re living in the past.

Love lives only in the present moment.

Living in the past imprisons your body, mind, and spirit. Living in the present frees you from that prison.

Let go of the past and you free yourself to live fully in the present. You restore the joy and peace that are your birthright.

Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing the cruelty of others.

Forgiveness is the choice you can freely make to free yourself from the past and its pain, and to move into the present moment where you will find joy and peace.

Forgiveness should not be something you do occasionally. It should be a way of life.

Anger, hatred, bitterness, living in the past come from your ego, not your spirit.

You live in a fair and just world. The universe takes care of “meting out justice.” That’s not your job.

It is futile to wish your past could have been different from what you thought you wanted it to be.

Forgiveness frees you to be who you really are and to do what you came to do.


Viktor Frankl is an Austrian doctor and psychiatrist. He’s also a survivor of The Holocaust, having spent time in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Listen to him talking about finding meaning and happiness in our lives, even amidst horrors most of us will never face.

Related links:

The Meaning of Life


Is there anyone or any situation in your life you resent, or even hate? Can you see a way out of your self-imposed prison? What can you do to forgive, free yourself, and move on? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.

What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me.


About John Cali

John Cali is a writer, blogger, and channel for a group of spirit guides. His next book is Real Answers to Life’s Pesky Questions: Conversations With Spirit, Book 1. John lives in northwestern Wyoming. Sign up for his newsletter here.

18 Responses

  1. Joseph

    Great posts

    You could say that FORGIVENESS is like the frosting on the cake, with the cake being our chosen creations. It brings the sweetness to what could be anything from bitter, to tasteless, to sweet. We created experiences that allow us to have deeper and deeper depths to our love and knowing, and to do so created the opposite of love so that when we realized what we have been doing there is a louder shout of Aha than previously experienced. This physical experience is all about depth of feelings with them being the register of how well we know who we really are. But without forgiveness that realization cannot occur [unless you’re already an avatar]. We can never reach an Aha moment for we will remain in the illusion, hence dramas of our past creations which are out of alignment with love – our truth. Once all has been truly forgiven from your heart and head there is no longer a need for this blessed tool, but until then don’t forget the frosting.

  2. Susan

    What a wonderful post! My thanks to you, John and all who responded… Oddly, or not, I have gotten 3 different messages in the past 2 days all on the same subject. So, I see that there is a shift taking place. I am grateful that the Universe is showing me that. If anyone is interested, there is a website by Tom Carpenter who is a long-time ACIM teacher, which may be of interest:


    Love and blessings,

    • John Cali

      You’re most welcome, Susan. And thank you for your kind words — and the link. I’m a big fan of ACIM.

      Love, John

  3. Sylvia

    I am certain that since I have really thought about and made the effort to forgive myself and anyone I may have been, or even perceived to have been, hurt by I have much less tension in my shoulders and back. It’s a lightness and an ease that I haven’t felt for a long time. Too bad, I didn’t know this as a younger person, but each person has to arrive at this on their own. Much love, Sylvia

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Sylvia. It’s amazing to me we don’t more often see the effects our emotions have on our bodies. Love, John

  4. anny

    Hello John,

    This post and the comments do so resonate with me and I do not think it can be otherwise but I do have one question.

    Why does Spirit say that hatred and resentment are always rooted in the past? When I think of situations as Victor Frankl was in in the concentrationcamps, or continuous bullying or ongoing abuse in families, I think that the people concerned will hate their oppressors right there and then as well as later. Or they decide not to go there, also there and then, as Victor Frankl and many others did and they became/become lights in the darkness because of it.

    Now that I think of it, I believe that forgiveness is about the past, even if that past is just five minutes ago, because once you have decided not to hate your enemies there is no need for forgiveness anymore. Where there is love there is no judgment and you are free whatever your circumstances,

    • John Cali

      Hi Anny,

      Thank you for your comments. I agree — forgiveness is not necessary if there was no judgement to begin with — judgement of ourselves or others. As you say, giving up judgement makes you free. Love, John

  5. Mikala

    Joseph is so absolutely correct here. Wonderful post.

    Our only job is to work on ourselves and accept being Who We Truly Are. The only way to get there is to love our exceptional selves. To do that, we must look at and accept as part of us all of our experiences – those we feel good about, and those we might look at as “mistakes.’ They aren’t mistakes! All we have thought, done, or experienced was a part of our pathway to where we are now at this moment. The only one we have to forgive is ourselves since we were given free will and therefore, no matter what we chose at any given time, we were exercising free will. For those things we don’t feel good about, they taught us something, mainly that we didn’t feel good about them so it would probably be a good thing not to repeat the performance. We are here to learn and grow through experiencing our choices.

    When we can truly say and believe we absolutely love ourselves each day, focus on ourselves first, meet our needs and desires, pay attention to our feelings, give ourselves gifts, only then can we do the same for others, and only then can we see that others are following the same path in different ways. There is nothing to forgive.

    Harboring hatred, a need for vengeance or payback, imagining how to harm another, all that drama is part of the illusion of ego. That is not what we truly are. It is fear and self hatred. Being in that space is resistance against spiritual growth and development.

    Love is All There Is and All That Is.

    • John Cali

      Thank you very much, Mikala.

      My spirit guides have often said exactly what you said — there are no mistakes, only opportunities for growth and remembering who we are.

      Love truly is all there is. Amen!

  6. Broken

    On one level I know that we are all one and that we have chosen our circumstances and there are no victims. Putting that knowledge into practice though? Trying to forgive where the hurts are so deep and the wounds are so often reopened and not allowed to heal? Well, lets just say that I’m starting to grow some pretty ugly scar tissue under those hate-scabs.

  7. Joseph

    Just the other day I had the thought that if we know we are aspects of Source, thus creator gods, is there anything to forgive for everything would just be a chosen experience. Even though this may be true at a certain level of awareness, forgiveness plays a major role in elevating one to their higher level of awareness/being.

    When you forgive, and remember that everything you do is for your growth, you are not only releasing the bonds that bind you to past negative creations of your own making or the making of others which you became part of, you are telling your soul that you are now aware that all past created experiences were just illusions of separation, misalignment of love and restrictions to the flow of Source energy/Love. You are acknowledging who you are and who you now realize everyone else is at their core.

    Forgiveness lifts the weights that tie you down to limitation, restriction and conditionality. It removes the energetic dams within your body that causes dis_ease [misalignment with your core truth that you are love]. You don’t truly need to express it verbally to any offended individual, though that too has its’ benefits, but the act of forgiveness is the first step of an inward journey to the deeper knowing of who you really are at your soul level.

    The heavens have granted a special dispensation at this time for the use of forgiveness knowing that it is one of the most powerful tools we can use to clear past perceived wrongs, karma and all ties to the past that no longer serve us. Use it from the heart to discover the joy that lies beneath the surface that is waiting to express itself. That joy is your true essence, the vibration needed to move into and survive in the higher dimensions.

  8. shirley White

    Forgiveness. A topic that seems to come up a lot in my discussions with others. It certainly seems a difficult action for many to take.

    I try to be in a state of forgiveness very often. I make this intention: I forgive myself and all others for any deeds or perceived hurts or actions, real or imagined, that I may be holding in my energies. We are all one. Love is all there is. So it is.

    Often I have seen that we tend to forget about forgiving ourselves for our thoughts, words and deeds that may have been less than loving. Forgiveness does not mean that we forget about things, although that might be a good thing as well. We all have done, thought or said things that were not from Highest Wisdom or a place of absolute love.

    We seem to have a lot of resistance to forgive. It really is an important part of our moving up the vibratory scale.

    Blessings and hugs to all

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Shirl.

      I agree — there is a lot of resistance to forgiveness. Especially toward ourselves. We’re often kinder to others than to ourselves.


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