Why Do We Need Forgiveness? by John Cali

Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement (Sistine Chapel)

When I was growing up in the Catholic Church, we were constantly reminded we needed forgiveness for all our sins, great and small. There was no way we were going to make it to heaven unless we constantly begged God to forgive us.

There was even a part of the Sunday Mass service where we were required to say “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. Only say the word and I shall be healed.”

I struggled with all that, even back when I was a faithful Catholic—many years ago now. I wondered why God made so many unworthy beings who needed to beg endlessly for forgiveness.

Today, of course, I’ve left all that behind me. But we still hear a lot about forgiveness—not so much in a religious context but in a broader spiritual context.

Why do we need forgiveness?


Let us start with this thought: You do not need forgiveness if you have not judged another (or yourself) to begin with. If you do not judge there is nothing to forgive in others or yourself. It’s that simple.

Despite what some religious and spiritual teachings say, God is not your judge. You’ve projected your own limitations (whether or not you view them as limitations) on God.

God will not judge you after your physical body dies and you return to the realms of spirit. God is love, as many of you say. How can God be love and judge you at the same time? It’s not possible.

God allows you to choose whatever path you want in this lifetime. S/he does not judge your actions or words to be “right” or “wrong.” Only you do that. In God’s view, right and wrong do not exist. Everything just is.

The key to learning nonjudgement is to see yourself and others as God does—with only compassion and love. Allow everyone to be okay just as they are. Everyone is doing the best they can in the moment.

Loving allowance is the key to releasing judgement. Once you have released judgement there is no need to forgive anyone for anything.


In this video Pragito Dove, talks about forgiveness.

Related links:
Compassion and Connectedness
The Law of Allowance
Unlimited Friendliness


What does forgiveness mean to you. Is there anyone in your life you need to forgive—maybe even yourself? 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.

18 Responses

  1. Jacquelyn Roberts

    Hello John,
    I’m sorry to hear about your accident.I hope it’s not extremely serious or painful. Aloe Vera can be immensely helpful. Please let me know if you’d like guidance with working with Aloe.

    I feel compelled to comment on this post regarding forgiveness because the guidance given strikes me as shallow and even a bit flippant. In a wold where bullies run rampant, children are casually mowed down with automatic rifles, and women are raped with impunity, forgiveness IS necessary,and more than that – imperative. I declare that teaching forgiveness was the crux of Jesus’ purpose for even manifesting to us in the first place.

    Indeed, forgiveness is the Only way out of the pain that a family feels as they bury their slain child. It is the Only way out of the pain that grips when one has been abused, betrayed, demeaned, and discounted. I’m confident that Chief Joseph knows that. How many times have YOU been raped? If you’ve never had that experience, I suppose it may be easy to assume a cavalier attitude towards the experience. People make mistakes, and mistakes can be forgiven.

    Jesus said to forgive those who ask for it. He provided a step-by-step course for action in dealing with abusers, from confronting them plainly, then their family, then their church, and if they remain entrenched in their wickedness to ‘knock the dust off your shoes and don’t look back”. Our Heavenly Father provides love and justice, and true justice can only come from Him. Thanks for hearing me out. I hope you feel better soon. Jacquelyn

    • John Cali

      Thank you very much, Jacquelyn, for your kind offer. I’m nearly healed now.

      I understand your perspective on forgiveness. Most people probably feel as you do. But there are others who do not (obviously). I’ve been studying A Course in Miracles the past several years. Its perspective on forgiveness is different from yours. But that’s fine. We all have our own paths to follow.

      I will disagree with you on one thing. I do not have a “cavalier attitude” toward women who’ve been raped. Several women very dear to me have had that experience, and I’ve seen the pain and trauma up close. You don’t pretend that does not exist.

      Thanks again, Jacquelyn, for your good wishes.

  2. Ron B.

    Re. Pragito Dove´s talk I noted right away that the cough, coughs, came at just the right moments to highlight her difficulties in spite of what she said. Interesting.

  3. Dan

    Forgive me for saying this …

    as always I love spirit’s perspective and was grateful when I heard there is nothing to forgive.

    And even though I am in agreement – it would be a very arrogant person to never say I am sorry to another person – note John’s email – “I apologize for the problem with our last blog post, “Why Do We Need Forgiveness?” We had a technical issue, which was entirely my fault. That’s why you couldn’t get the post this morning.”

    By the way John, you are incredibly diligent and consistent in writing articles – always good reminders and always well written – there wasn’t anything to apologize for in my book –

    Thanks – and I am sorry if I mildly disagree 🙂

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Dan, for your always-right-on-target comments.

      Oddly enough, I hesitated before I sent that “I apologize” email. But I expect neither you nor anyone else to always agree with me. In fact, one of my spirit guides, Chief Joseph, often tells folks it’s fine for them to disagree with him. He reminds us our own inner guidance is always our best resource, even if it disagrees with what he says.

    • anny

      I noticed that too and I completely agree with you, Dan. Still, I would have done exactly the same as John did.

      Maybe we would have to invent a new terminology for this type of thing because it has nothing to do with being wrong or needing forgiveness but only with stating and informing people what the cause of the delivery failure was. I appreciated hearing that because it happens more often that (other people’s) blog posts do not reach my mailbox and where it is not clear what the cause is. Abraham’s daily quotes for instance have recently started arriving very erratically, one day yes, the next day not and the day after that it might be there again, but it has already been cleared that they are being sent out every day.

    • Shih-Min

      Verbal language is always limitive and should be understood in context, with appropriate references, and good discernment.
      Having said that, we would like to discern the different kinds of “forgiveness” — used by Spirit in John’s article, used in the video of Pragito Dove’s talk, used by John in his email, and used by Dan in his comment when he began with “Forgive me for saying this … “.
      (We heard that the Eskimo people have more than twenty different words for the English word “snow.” To Eskimos, those twenty-plus words mean different meanings.)

      We think in the article Spirit is addressing to those who suffer a compulsive need to beg for forgiveness from God. Here “forgiveness” connotes a slave-tyrant relationship, and self-unworthiness, powerlessness, shunning responsibility for self’s reality on the begger’s part. So Spirit said, “You do not need forgiveness.”
      Pragito Dove’s talk is to those who had been unfairly, abusively treated and now want to get over, out-grow the past, to start a new life free from the emotional pain they have carried for so long. Pragito Dove didn’t say no need to forgive, instead she teaches the true self-liberating forgiveness — which is “realizing that there is nothing to forgive”.

      John’s email and Dan’s comment starter are expressions of politeness/social etiquette from two kind minds. This world does need polite behaviors, doesn’t it?

      With love,

  4. Sarah D

    What a beautiful post, John and I could really relate to the lady’s words in the video too. I was raised for part of my childhood as a Jehovah’s Witness and I lived in fear of being judged at Armageddon. It took me quite a long time to recover in my teens.
    I found this post very touching and a very important message for me, personally, as I tend to be very hard on myself at times and this is a timely reminder to stop judging myself (I tend to judge myself rather than other people). Thanks again, John and I hope you are well.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much again, Sarah. I used to be like that too — always judging myself much more harshly than I ever did anyone else. I’ve pretty much “kicked the habit,” though I catch myself doing it on rare occasions.

      All’s well here, Sarah, thanks — and I hope with you too.

      • Sarah D

        Its amazing really, we are surrounded by such a judgmental society, And if your family are perfectionists, as mine are, its easy to fall into the habit of self-judgmental. But to remember that we are all doing the best we can from the place we are in, that is very comforting. Allowing is something I am working on at the moment. Its sometimes hard as some teachers say to avoid ‘negative’ people and situations etc but if we are truly allowing, then there is no such thing as a ‘negative’, we should be able to allow the other person to be who they are and learn to love people for who they truly are, to find their gift.

  5. Conshana

    “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear”,,,
    In the Earliest days of the Bible period, the word, “Fear” ALSO meant “Awe” and “Reverence”.

    Therefore, to fear God meant to hold Him in Awe, and Reverential Adoration. But we forgot that, and it was never taught to us, that, that meaning existed. It was only through a chance encounter with a biblical dictionary years ago, that I found that,,, and that changed my life. And I’ve been damned, condemned, chastised by those who reject the LOVE of God in that manner, and demand that God be a “Fearsome Dragon” as the RCC taught them God is.

    How so very many times, I have seen someone as I am shopping, or walking down the street, and wanted to tell them, “You are so BEAUTIFUL~!”, yet knowing that their own beliefs may not permit that. So, I just tell them they have a nice smile, and let it go. (I have been “called on the carpet” for being friendly with people~! in my business world~!)

    But who is the loser??? Crazy as it may sound, I am, and so are they. But God knows~!

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Conshana, for sharing. I grew up in the RCC — so I know firsthand what you’re talking about.

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