How do you forgive a madman?
It’s with a broken heart that I, and most of the world, witness the war mongering of the one known as Putin. He did it. As many held their breath, he did what we all hoped he would not… he invaded his neighbour, attempting to take from them what he wanted for himself. Using all the weapons of war he has amassed, he decided that not only could he do it, he would do it.
As we witness Putin’s actions, we see power being wielded in its most damaging and dangerous form. Putin, of course, is not the first person to try to prove his power in this way. He is an example of power run amok.
By most standards of right and wrong, his actions fall on the side of “wrong, wrong, wrong.”
How could anyone forgive that?
What Putin is doing is outrageous. Honestly, it’s impossible to forgive the insanity of such actions. They come from a mind which has become completely deranged with its desire to take, take, take… feeding an ego which is insatiable to prove its power.
If forgiveness has a hierarchy, actions like Putin’s are at the top.
It makes sense that we don’t even want to forgive him. It’s human to want him to pay for his selfish, greedy, murderous ways, and it may seem that forgiveness gives him a free pass.
One of the ways that forgiveness makes sense to me comes from understanding that I, too, have similar tendencies. Fortunately, I don’t exercise my desire for power and control in the same way as Putin. I do, however, acknowledge that I have an ego which wants what other people have. In the workplace, ego shows up as jealousy when someone gets a job that I applied for. Ego shows up when people don’t act the way I think they should. It’s ego that takes credit for someone else’s work. It’s ego that reacts in anger when things happen that are out of its control.
Not to diminish in any way the enormity of Putin’s actions, we fight a lot of wars in our personal and professional lives.
Putin, then, is an extreme example of ego run amok, a reminder of what lurks within the very darkest recess of the mind.
So… should we just ignore him, then?
No. No. No. A thousand times no. Forgiveness doesn’t trump strategy. Forgiveness doesn’t turn away from what’s playing out. In fact, forgiveness says, “I see what you’re doing. I understand what’s behind it all, and you’ve gone too far. This needs to stop!!! You need to stop. I forgive you, and I’m claiming a power that extends compassion to you while holding you accountable.”
Forgiveness is an act of compassion, a compassion that does what’s necessary depending on the situation. The bigger the damage done, the bigger the consequences.
Follow your heart
Follow your heart and do what feels right so that you feel less helpless. There are calls for protests as well as financial help for the Ukrainian people. Many are praying. I saw a photo today a man carrying a sign and hugging another man. The sign said, “I’m Russian. Sorry for that.” It’s a reminder to me to hug someone today and say, “I’m sorry.”
I remind people who want world peace that wars being played out on the world stage are but a bigger manifestation of the micro wars and aggressions that play out in our daily lives. Thus, I call you forth to 1) begin the process of being more aware of the micro wars and aggressions in which you participate and 2) connect with the forgiving and peaceful place within.
Whenever one of us acts from a place of peace, we contribute to world peace.