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“There but for the Grace of God, go I.” You may have heard that saying many times before, but what does it mean in the context of this program? Well, it means that had I been walking in that person’s shoes, I too might have found myself in that same position and doing similar things.

It is a recognition, too, that Grace plays a part in how our lives turn out, which is what Radical Forgiveness asserts. But that is getting a little bit ahead of where we want to be in this unit. We are still in the collapsing of the story phase, so let’s stay with the idea of walking in someone else’s shoes.

Yesterday, the work required that we dig deep and bring forth some humility in recognizing that we have only limited rights to demand that a person be a certain way.

This unit asks that you exercise empathy, compassion, understanding and mercy.

It asks you to look with merciful eyes and a compassionate heart and to wonder what it might have been like to be him or her, struggling with the same set of circumstances, dealing with the particular wounds of his or her childhood and facing the same set of fears and anxieties of his or her life.

I am not saying that we condone or pardon any particular behavior that led to your being hurt. Not at all. What we are asking you to do, though, is to cut them some slack and to imagine what might have led him or her to behave in that way. What frailties of personality or character might at least begin to account for it? What set of perverted beliefs pushed him or her to act this way thinking it was right and just?

Go to your journal. Without minimizing your own pain in any way (for that still needs to be honored), write down anything you feel helps you understand this person better and might explain why they did what they did.

Here are some examples that might apply to your situation.

  • he/she was abused/not loved/rejected as a child
  • he/she was only acting out his/her own pain
  • he/she was in fear about survival/finances/work/other
  • he/she was in fear about the relationship/marriage
  • he/she was addicted to ___________ and was irresponsible
  • I was a difficult person to be with

Click below to go to your Journal.