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Don’t Hug a Thistle

Lowell Fillmore

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Remember that the average person is his own worst enemy.

Our chief aim in life is to express the perfection that God has planned for us. Difficulties arise in our affairs and in our body when we consciously or unconsciously inhibit the free expression of God’s plan in us.

Unfolding or manifesting God’s idea of man should be a natural and easy part of living, but as a race we have for so long restricted or dammed up the natural-divine forces working through us that we now must cultivate and encourage them, and consciouly work to bring them into expression. Perhaps we should say that we must work definitely to get rid of the personal qualities that are interfering with the free expression of the divine through us.

One of the most persistent hindrances to our full expression of the divine is the trait of mind that we call unforgiveness. The person who will not forgive is harming himself. He is like a man holding a thistle, full of sharp, spiny thorns, close to his breast. The tighter he hugs it the more it hurts him. “But,” you will say, “nobody would be silly enough to do such a thing as that.” Perhaps not, but many are just as unwise in holding painful grudges and unpleasant hurts in their hearts.

They are unhappy and sick because they are doing these things, yet they do not realize that these unwelcome conditions may be easily cast away, as one would throw away a thistle, by forgiving. The promise is “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” And here is a suggestion for those who are offering up prayer and expecting divine help: “And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

The very unhappiness that you are asking God to remove may be the thistle of unforgiveness that you are holding in your heart. Someone will say, “I could forgive as far as I am concerned, but this thing that was done is too terrible to be forgotten. If I am quick to forgive it I may encourage the doing of more such things.” The answer to this argument is that what we dwell upon in thought we are building in thought, and are therefore encouraging. Thought is creative.

When we forgive someone, the very act of forgiving helps to put his misdeed out of our mind, and when it is out of mind we are no longer propagating it by our thoughts. The fact is that many persons hold on to unpleasant conditions with their thoughts, in a morbid sort of way. This practice is simply a bad habit.

Some conscientious persons feel that it is their right and their duty to be unwilling to forgive certain wrongs, and that they are in some way getting even with the wrongdoer by carrying around the thistle of unforgiveness. Surely this is a shortsighted method. If a person has done wrong, we should let the evil stop there, and not perpetuate it by feeding it mentally. There is an old saying, “Do not cut off your nose to spite your face,” and if I persist in hurting myself in order to harm someone else, I am figuratively cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Just to forgive in a human way is good; but we need to do something more. To forgive in a mental or human way is restful, but to put the whole unpleasant matter into God’s hands and let the love of God go forth from you to the erring one is healing. You can pour out a healing balm upon your own soul and body by sending your love out to the one who has been under condemnation. This healing balm will heal you while you are sending it out.

As you radiate love and forgiveness you are unstopping the channels of God’s impulses in yourself, so that His divine love and life may flow more freely through you and your affairs. The ideal state of existence is freedom, and this freedom means freedom of circulation. The air is fresh when it circulates; water is pure when it circulates; ideas are stimulating when they circulate; love is healing when it circulates, likewise the divine attributes of God are made manifest in you as they circulate through your mind.


SUNDAY: I forgive all people everywhere.

MONDAY: I am a free and open channel for the expression of divine love.

TUESDAY: Only good thoughts are worth the thinking.

WEDNESDAY: I am free from all past discords. I have let them go.

THURSDAY: The mighty stream of divine love has healed all the hurts of my mind and body.

FRIDAY: No thistle of unforgiveness shall cause me hurt, for I have set all people free in God’s love.

SATURDAY: The forgiving love of Jesus Christ sets me free from sin, sickness, and poverty.