Even though Radical Forgiveness and Radical Self-Forgiveness take the position that, according to spiritual law, everything is as it should be and that there are no victims or perpetrators, we still are subject to human law while we are in a human body. That means we are still responsible for breaking those laws and must bear the consequences for doing so.
Because we are not privy to the spiritual big picture, we don’t know the plan. We cannot get ahead of the game and do “bad” things on the assumption that it will turn out to be perfect in the spiritual sense. That would be to play God.
No, our job is to play the human game, following our own inner compasses about what is right and wrong in the human sense. At the same time, we know that if we make a bad judgment or mistake, there must have been a reason for it at the spiritual level. The consequences are also part of the “plan,’ even if means going to prison for the crime you commit.
Having an awareness of a bigger plan won’t make it right in human terms, but it will allow you to feel some compassion and self-forgiveness for yourself at the spiritual level. It doesn’t release you from responsibility or even guilt. Allowing yourself to imagine it might have been a soul contract may bring some inner peace, even while you languish in prison.
At the level of human law, we can bring some ordinary forgiveness to bear on any situation where we appear to have done something we regret, even if we have caused harm to another person. We can distinguish between appropriate guilt and inappropriate guilt, for example. (This is also the third stage in the Radical Self-Forgiveness process, but it is not yet Radical Self-Forgiveness… that comes in Stage Four: The Reframe.)
Guilt is defined as remorse over something we have done but shouldn’t have, or not done but should have. It refers to our behavior. Shame, on the other hand, is remorse over who we think we are. Obviously they connect, but the distinction remains.
Appropriate guilt is where our remorse is truly earned, and you are entitled to feel guilty. You were at fault. Inappropriate guilt is where something occurred, but there was no actual fault on your part in the causation of the event. In that case, you are not entitled to blame yourself for it.
For example, if a child runs out from behind a parked car and you have no time to stop or react and the child is killed, you are not entitled to feel guilt. Sadness, sorrow, anger etc. – but not guilt. If, on the other hand, you were driving drunk and there might have been enough time to react and avoid the child if you had had all your wits about you, then you are entitled to your guilt. You earned it.
Your order of difficulty in forgiving yourself in each case will be very different. Ordinary self-forgiveness, like ordinary forgiveness, doesn’t work completely because it doesn’t appeal to your Higher Self. With the tools provided in Radical Self-Forgiveness, you can access your Higher Self, and total healing can be yours.