The Clash of Cultures: Forgiveness vs the Culture-of-Me

As I sit here watching a Major League baseball playoff game, I am fascinated by the commercials—yes, the commercials. The fascination arises from the observation that virtually every commercial is about wonderful “me”—rewards cards, get more cash back, eat fattening foods just because.

I began to ask myself: Will people who view this stuff end up being better persons as a result of spending time this way? I do not think so because the focus is exclusively on “me,” “me, “me.” It is a self-absorbed world of diversion.

Forgiveness is a culture unto itself when placed next to the world of the commercial. Forgiveness asks of us. It demands. It requires discipline and self-sacrifice. It clashes with the “cheese cake bites” in the commercial.

If we spend, say, 70% of our time in the culture-of-me, how will this affect our understanding and practice of forgiveness? Could all this time in the culture-of-me dull us to the importance, beauty, and challenge that is forgiveness? I think so. If we have the chance to drown our sorrows in the culture of consumption, why then venture at all into the culture of struggle that is forgiveness? And what if we spend 90% or more of our time in the culture of consumption, is there then any hope for the flowering of the counter-culture of forgiveness?

We are in a clash of cultures and I wonder to what extent people know that. “Letting it go” or “just moving on” may be the easier way to go when we are not encouraged to truly forgive from the heart, in service to the one who hurt us, with an eye toward the betterment of that person.

How can we allow ourselves time in the culture-of-me without being consumed by the consumption? How can we step into the culture of service and not think it too difficult or too “out there” so that we return frequently? Or better yet, how can we step into the culture of service and bring the moving van and stay there?

Perhaps the first step is to realize that we are in a culture-of-me. Then we have to decide if we wish to live out our lives there. We really do have a choice.

Dr. Bob

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Categories: New Ideas, Our Forgiveness Blog


  1. Boris says:

    Toby Keith tapped into something with his hit country song from a number of years ago, “I Wanna Talk about me.” Thanks for the courage to put this one on the table.

  2. Kathlyne says:

    I want to discuss this essay, but I have to finish my “cheese cake bite” first. Me first. Great post.

  3. says:

    Before we can live together in an eternal community, we must be assured that there is nothing within us or others that might escalate or evolve into problems in the future. After all it would not be paradise if we continue to bring up all of our old issues among one another. When we leave the earth???we go through our life review. We are encouraged to seek our own justice and atonement by going to the parties we have hurt in our lives and asking them to tell us what they want from us in order to make amends. People out there, Solamenta will await the arrival of those on earth that they have committed transgressions against??? if they are not already out there in order to make their amends; provided that is, if they are inclined to do so. For example??? it???s a humiliating experience for a man to go to his best friend from the earth and confess to him that he had an affair with his wife, stole something from him, cheated him, talked behind his back etc. This is one of the reasons that many wives and husbands don???t continue their relationships out there. Forgiveness is a concept, granted it is a sterile and morose concept but nevertheless, it has flourished in spite of the fact there is little if any strength behind the words ???I forgive you???. These words mean in essence, let???s forget about it. Forgiveness is a concept that has outlived its time! Instead, let???s consider a more logical approach to resolving our differences???. Hated enemies who find themselves fighting on the same side, become brothers on the battlefield because they are necessary for each other???s survival. When we understand from a logical perspective that you and I are necessary for each other???s eternal survival, we no longer need to say the words, ???I forgive you,??? but rather, ???I understand how badly we need each other???!

  4. Samantha says:

    Divineadvanced, would you please explain what you mean when you say that forgiveness and “forget it” are equated? Also, it seems that you are assuming there is no unfairness at all in the world, only misunderstanding. Would you say that to an incest survivor who is distraught about what happened to her? I am only trying to understand your position.

  5. Alexi says:

    Samantha, I was taught that forgiveness is a moral virtue. Have you been taught that? If it is, then it cannot be the same as “forget it” because to forget is not a moral virtue. So, to equate forgiving and forgetting is to re-write what forgiveness is. Of course forgiveness would be past its prime as a way to re-group after severe wrong if all we were doing is saying, “Forget it.” That, however, is not what it is.

  6. Alexi says:

    One more thing, if I may. Divineadvanced referred to forgiveness as “morose,” which is a synonym for gloomy. As I understand forgiveness, it is the offer of unconditional love toward someone who has wronged us. To stand in love under such circumstances is hardly gloomy. You would have to change the meaning of forgiveness to conclude that.

  7. says:

    1>Reply to Samantha???Truly appreciate for your comment Samantha! I would say to them??? allow God to resolve the conflict for you. When we humans attempt to resolve our own conflict, we might be successful at transferring the pain to another level of our consciousness but we do not resolve it. A human being is not capable of forgiving another human being. You can say the words, “I forgive you”, you can desire the peace which often accompanies the expression of forgiveness and you might even mean it at some level of your consciousness but when one person transgresses against another it doesn’t matter what we think, feel or believe about the destiny of another. In order for us to become the type of people that can live within an immortal community, we must be more than forgiven, we must change. When we look around our world, what do we see; war, poverty, crime of all sorts, those who violate the civil rights of another. For those who struggle with forgiveness, you are fighting the good fight and maybe you have even taken a step toward immortality but from the perspective of those who are divine and who are talking to those who are evil (on the inside), they understand what forgiveness is. Forgiveness means that they do what they have to do to make those who are evil transform! To them forgiveness has no meaning! They devote their eternal lives to attempting to get those who would or have wronged another to listen to them. This is what divine beings do. Divine beings are those who have overcome that voice that would lead us astray, that voice that continues to keep us primitive, that keeps us in the cycle of life and death, if we allow it to do so. If someone wrongs you, you might say I forgive you but God, the universe, the divine or however you want to express it, might have another solution in order to solve the problem. If one day we want to look around us and see only love, then it is going to take a great deal more than symbolic actions which the status quo praises but which have no affect with regard to the evolution of mankind. It is good for us to say the words (I forgive you) and to fight the voice within which attempts to talk us into holding a grudge. These two voices are the source of internal conflict. One is always telling us which path to follow toward true immortality and the other is always telling us which way to go that will take us away from immortality. The righteous path is always the path of greatest resistance. If we say, “I forgive you” we should listen to the voice that tells us…well done but we should also listen to the voice that tells us, “Gods will??? will be done”. Good luck on your journey???. J.S. Thompson 2>Reply to Alexi???s first comment… Thank you Alexi! Only God can forgive. When we humans attempt to do the job only a higher power can do, then we only enhance the conflict that already exists and though we might mask it; it does not go away but comes out in another form. Good luck on your journey???. J.S. Thompson 3>Reply to Alexi???s 2nd comment???. Alexi, appreciate the comments! Love is a wonderful thing but can only happen when we are truly capable of doing it. Allow God to teach us how to love. Love is not something we will learn while we are on the earth but we can move in the direction of love. We ask God for all things and if we listen God will teach us. Forgiveness would be a moral virtue if we were truly capable of forgiving. Only God, the universe or however you express the highest source of understanding can forgive. We can say the words and we can fight the good fight to not hold a grudge against another but we as humans are not knowledgeable enough to forgive. When we humans make proclamations regarding another we become our own Gods. People have been saying the words, “I forgive you” since the beginning of man but look around you and what do you see???man’s inhumanity to man. In order for this world to become a world of mutual respect and peace, people are going to have to start listening to that higher voice within and stop listening to the voice that says to you that you are the God of your life. We can pretend that we are and people have been thinking this or at least acting like they were their own Gods since the beginning of time but it is a lie. How do we affect change in a positive manner, how can we do the things that will help to change the world? Change will never happen by exhibiting symbolic actions. If we truly want to exhibit divine characteristics, then we say, “Let Gods will be done”. However, if we truly believe that we are capable of forgiveness then we become our own Gods and all you need to do to see how this symbolic virtue has influenced the world is to look around. God bless the peace makers; they are walking toward true immortality but God help those who believe that saying I forgive you will change the world or even bring true internal peace. The conflict inside will remain no matter how you choose to label it. I’m not saying that it is not good for us to say the words; we live in a primitive society. “I forgive you??? are good words to say when we are communicating with those who do not understand that we do not have the power to forgive. The words like a drug might bring peace in the short term but it does not solve the problem. However, in order to become members of an immortal society, we are going to need to understand that there is a higher power that we need to “allow” to take the real responsibility to forgive. If we don’t understand the mechanics of forgiveness and only god can, then what are we doing? We are fighting an internal struggle to forget! Don’t get me wrong it is a good struggle albeit misunderstood and if we can keep the memory of the wrongdoing from some level of our consciousness, we are building internal strength. This could be good. However, strength gained from an action we cannot do and we don’t understand can easily be applied wrongly. We still live in a primitive society that likes to “string up” those they don’t understand! As long as we have a majority opinion in the matter then we are in the right. Right? No we are not. When we leave the earth, we are still liable as an individual for our actions and when this occurs as soon it must, we do not have the false security of the group (society) to urge us on. So, what should we do when we are wronged? Say to God (or whoever you pray to), “God make me the type of person who will live in paradise (immortal community) forever??? let not my will but your will be done??? and then listen! We should not do what the status quo expects of us, we should do what God expects of us. If we attempt to resolve our own internal conflict we will fail but if we allow God to resolve our conflicts then it will happen and we will transform thus escaping the cycle of life and death forever. With regard to what society sees as moral virtue, the same rule applies. Morality is not in the eye of society, or the status quo. What constitutes morality or virtue belongs to God (logic) as well. However, if we will learn to listen, God will tell us how to be moral and virtuous. It is not so much what we do but what we understand. Finally, for those who refuse to think about this concept in a new way and continue rather to consider it in the way that society sees it, then expect for the world to remain the same???this is morose for me, if for no one else. Good luck on your journey???. J.S. Thompson


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