Stephen Mitchell on forgiveness, letting go and karma

This is a great passage from The Gospel According to Jesus – by Stephen Mitchell,  which in detail and very simply speaks of forgiveness. I find it important that author demonstrates direct result of our actions and feelings. You can see, that your action, like condemning someone, will create karma – a world of condemnation for yourself.
In other words, you put negative energy out there, in form of thoughts or actions, you contribute to its expansion, and as a result you attract and create more of that same energy in your own life. Karma.
Introduction, Chapter 8:

Forgiveness is a sign pointing us toward that kingdom (kingdom of God). We ask Jesus, How should we live? He says, Love God, love your neighbor. We ask, What is that like? He says, Let go. Letting go of an offence means letting go of the self that is offended.

And more from the same chapter:

But actually, forgiveness is an experience that happens only outside the kingdom of God. If you have to let go, then there was something to hold on to. Where there is no offence to begin with, there is nothing to forgive. It is more accurate to say that inside the kingdom of God there is only acceptance.
In Jesus’ sayings, it may seem as if God’s forgiveness is dependent on ours. “Forgive us our wrongs, as we forgive those who wronged us.” “For if you forgive others their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” “If you don’t judge, you will not be judged; if you don’t condemn, you will not be condemned; if you forgive, you will be forgiven.” But these ifs have only one side, like a Mobius strip. Jesus doesn’t mean that if you do condemn, God will condemn you; or that if you don’t forgive, God won’t forgive you. He is pointing to a spiritual fact: when we condemn, we create a world of condemnation for ourselves, and we attract the condemnation of others; when we cling to an offence, we are clinging to precisely what separates us from our own fulfillment. Letting go means not only releasing the person who has wronged us, but releasing ourselves. A place opens up inside us where that person is always welcome, and where we can always meet her again, face to face.
In these sayings of Jesus, God is a mirror reflecting back to us our own state of being. We receive exactly what we give. The more openhearted we are, the more we can experience the whole universe as God’s grace. Forgiveness is essentially openness of heart. It is an attitude, not an action.

It doesn’t arise from morality, but from vision; it doesn’t require effort, but is itself the inexhaustible energy of life.

Why did the ancient Masters esteem the Tao?

Because, being one with the Tao,

when you seek, you find;

and when you make a mistake. you are forgiven.

That is why everybody loves it.

This is the vivid experience of everyone who lives in harmony with the way things are. What does it mean to say that when we are at one with the Tao we are forgiven? As soon as we make a mistake, we become aware of it, we admit it, and we correct it, on the spot. Thus there is no residue.

The Gospel According to Jesus – author Stephen Mitchell

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  1. I like seeing Jesus in this light. More human, compassionate and understanding.
    This is a Jesus I can try to emulate, to follow, to be able to never have to forgive because i will be all accepting of whatever Life brings my way.
    Why haven’t any Christian religious sects espoused this view? I’d join ’em.
    michael j
    conshohocken, PA USA


  2. Thank you Michael,
    I know what you mean, that is precisely how I feel.
    Especially now, reading “The Gospel According to Jesus” – I wish there was a better way to reflect on these teachings than just blogging.
    I thought that, only if I could talk with like-minded group of people, how wonderful that would be.
    But for now it is just us, here.
    Therefore, I thank you very much for your comment, it makes me feel like I am on the right track.


  3. What about people with too much toxicity? people who are shallow? I try to just stay away but then isn’t that judging them? But I am not at the point where I am able to love them unconditionally.


    • Hi Persiandevi and thank you so much for this comment. I did not even realize how important and unclear this subject was to me. As I attempted to reply to you, I begun writing and have actually created a whole new post are we judging by staying away from…?
      So I thank you for allowing me to reevaluate my own thought on that.
      be Present,


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