Many cartoon characters have been featured with an angel and demon perched on the shoulders while in the middle of a dilemma. Sometimes Donald’s dilemma would feature a life-size angel and demon who not only fight each other, but the demon also tortured Donald.
This is not far from what is actually happening to us in terms of forgiveness and resentment. Traditional Christianity teach us that angels and demons do whisper in our ears. There is an evil presence in the world who does not want you to forgive. This evil presence is trying to convince you that the pain is too deep, the hurt too strong, and you “just don’t have the strength.”
So what is being whispered? I think the cartoons depict what is happening in reality. Forgiveness and unforgiveness are whispering to us, and we have to decide which one we want to listen to. This poses an idea modern society is not familiar with. If angels and demons can whisper in our ears, it means they could be planting thoughts and phrases which are not our own. You might have a thought that is not your thought.
With practice and focus we can quiet the demon and increase the angel. If we focus on love, compassion, and mercy, then the unforgiveness weakens. If we focus on the hurt, pain, and mistrust, then the forgiveness weakens.
Listen to your thoughts, and ask yourself where they are coming from. Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, whose teachings are presented in the book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, presents a clear picture of the influence of thoughts. A Serbian spiritual guide of the 20th century, Elder Thaddeus focused on the message of love, hope, and forgiveness as a co-sufferer of his Serbian nation.
Our thoughts do determine our lives. It is our thoughts which influence our actions. The next step is determining where our thoughts are coming from, and which ones will guide us to peace and serenity.
Question: Are you sure your thoughts are your own?