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A Guide to Love, God, Prayer, Meditation, & Peace Within You—Right Now

Forgiveness Overcomes Justice


Willow Lake, Near Mount MacLaughlin, Southern OregonIt’s true. I was working like a crazy man up until the day of my book launch for When God Spoke to Me on March 17. Since then, I’ve cut back my crazy hours and have gone back to a “normal” life. This past weekend, I took three days off and took myself camping. I went to a beautiful lake about one hour away located at the base of Mount McLaughlin in Southern Oregon. I spent those three days sleeping, meditating, contemplating, journaling, eating, sitting around the campfire, and hiking. On my first night, I slept 14 hours and meditated for three hours upon waking. Boy did I need that! I spent a lot of time meditating over those three days and sought a lot of guidance and communication from God on what was next in my life, how I should focus my time and attention from here on out, and so many other important questions for me. It was a fabulous weekend. I came back refreshed, rejuvenated, refocused, and very very peaceful. Today, I’d like to tell you a little story about something that happened while I was there.

Because it’s early spring and still fairly cool in Southern Oregon, there were very few campers at this particular campground. There was actually still snow on the road on my way there. The highs were in the 50s, and the nights were in the 30s. I arrived at the campground midday on Friday. Only one other couple showed up that day. We had the whole campground to ourselves.

The other couple set up their tent and camp site about 50 yards from me. The guy was probably in his early 30s. I will describe him as a pretty loud, testosterone filled guy. He had a big truck, a Doberman pinscher, and he was yelling at his dog quite a bit, ordering him around, keeping him well-behaved, throwing things to him, etc. I had a few slightly annoyed thoughts go through my head while meditating, but not many. I let them go pretty easily. I was just happy to be there and was enjoying my meditation.

Towards evening, I took a walk down the lake to see the snowcapped Mount MacLaughlin more clearly. This guy and his girlfriend (or perhaps wife, I don’t know) were not far behind me. We sat far apart and never got within talking distance. They ended up going back to their campground sooner than me and passed right through my camp on their way. When I returned to my campground, I noticed that my huge bag of trail mix was no longer in my food bag. I looked and looked for it, but I couldn’t find it. The only answer that made sense to me was that he took it on his way through my campsite.

Needless to say, I was a little perplexed and slightly shocked. When I asked what to do, I was guided to do nothing, to just let it go. That evening before going to bed, I meditated. I was in a really fantastic space, very calm and peaceful, and I ask the question, “How can people learn and grow in life without justice?” I didn’t feel angry at that man for taking my trail mix. I just really wanted to understand how people in life can learn and grow without being forced to take responsibility for their behavior. For example, it’s obvious that many people do learn profound life lessons by being forced to take responsibility for things, whether it’s someone being forced to go to jail for a crime they commit, or making one’s children take responsibility for mistakes or actions they me take, etc.

I knew in my heart there was an answer. I knew in my heart that people didn’t need to be punished, reprimanded, or forced to learn their life’s lessons, but I was still curious to hear what the Holy Spirit had to say about the topic. How is this man going to learn his lesson about stealing if no one ever approaches him or speaks to him about it, or if no one ever “encourages” him to take responsibility? Like I said, I knew it wasn’t necessary to do those things, but in the moment, I wanted God to talk to me about it (since I was sitting for hours in meditation having conversations about all kinds of things), so I decided to ask the question. Here’s where it gets good…

Once again, here’s the question I asked: “How can people learn and grow in life without justice?”

Right after I asked that question, the Holy Spirit immediately offered me a way to provide justice to my own mind. The justice that I was offered in that moment was one of forgiveness. I was immediately instructed to see that man as my savior, to see that without him, I would never have been inspired to ask my question and be reminded once again that forgiveness is always the answer. By forgiving him in that moment, which meant by seeing the blessing and gift that he truly was in my life, I was able to do justice to my own perceptions and immediately took a step in my own learning and growth in that moment. So the answer to my question was … people will learn and grow when they are ready to forgive. I was ready to learn and grow by choosing forgiveness instead of perceiving anything less than gratitude for that man. Indeed, it was one of many wonderful moments during meditation over the weekend. I felt extreme gratitude just for that man’s presence in my life, and I truly didn’t care what he may or may not have done.

Now here’s the thing … I knew from the very beginning that I had no idea whether he actually took my trail mix or not. I had no proof. But after I had truly extended forgiveness to myself for holding those thoughts about him, I really didn’t care if he took my trail mix or not, because the event, regardless of what actually happened, had proved to be such a blessing to me. But here’s the thing … the following day a clear thought came to me: I’m probably going to find my trail mix by the time I get home and laugh about this whole thing. I had no idea if I would actually find my trail mix, but I had this sneaking suspicion that I would somehow find it.

About an hour before I was to leave, I went down to the lake with my journal to write down a bunch of the communications I had received over the weekend as a reminder in case I forgot when I went home. After I finish journaling, I set my notebook down and looked up towards the lake. About 10 feet in front of me was my bag of trail mix! I had no recollection of taking my trail mix down to the water, but I do remember eating my lunch down there Friday afternoon, and I must’ve taken the bag of trail mix with me and left it there by mistake!

I just laughed and smiled. I truly loved how it all unfolded! The whole thing was a wonderful experience … and the bag of trail mix is now sitting right next to me as I write this little story of forgiveness. I’ve been chewing on it all week long. 🙂

Thanks for letting me share this story with you. 🙂 Many blessings to you!

With love and joy,

DavidPaul Doyle

P.S. I took a short video of the lake just to show my wife and daughter what it was like since they didn’t come with me. To watch the video, click the play button below.

  • Hannah

    What? Why was your life lesson to forgive before you knew he hadn't taken the trailmix?

  • Liz

    I think if had happened to most anyone else the outcome wouldn''t have been the same ,
    unless they too could hear God.

  • maggie

    David Paul- Loved that story. Had a simular experience with my daughter and then felt just so much gratitude to her for presenting the opportunity for seeing another way.

  • That's what true forgiveness is all about. True forgiveness actually has nothing to do with what someone else does or does not do. True forgiveness has only to do with my perceptions, and choosing to see through the Holy Spirit's eyes. that ego forgives people for their mistakes or wrongdoings. God forgives people for no reason at all, because He sees that there is nothing that needs to be forgiven.

  • Thanks for your comments, Maggie. I'm grateful to hear that.

  • Hannah

    So it's ok to steal?

  • It's not okay to steal for me. I choose not to steal. That's what's in my integrity. I also take precautions in my life so people don't unnecessarily steal from me. I lock my car when our valuable things inside of it. And I lock my house because there are many valuable things inside of it. And my life would be simpler and easier if I didn't have to replace all of those things on a regular basis. That is what works for me in my life. As far as judging another for what he or she may choose to do, that is not what I want to do, because it doesn't bring me peace or love to judge another for anything.

  • I don't know if someone would have had to hear God's voice, but certainly someone who would rather have peace and pain. One of the Holy Spirit quotes that I love the best is something like, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy? You can only have one.”

  • Chris

    Great to hear your story. Your book was life-changing for me. Recently my wife left me. She had an affair with a terrible man who seems to get away with everything evil he does. He always gets what he wants and comes out smelling like a rose…every time (seemingly). He is my complete opposite. He is an alcoholic, a drug user, and he has not only destroyed my family, but his own as well…..Now he has decided he wants his wife and family back. His wife (ex) is submitting, but he still is hanging on to my wife (ex), who has no idea what is going on….My pastor's wife told me not to do anything. In the mean time, the man is purchasing the house of his dreams, he has two women who love him. He has my wife and stepson (who has cerebreal palsy)…and he is seemingly prospering in his trucking business. And I am struggling financially…and alone.

    I would love to recieve enough enlightenment from my Holy Spirit to forgive the man…but it is like hitting a brick wall…I am having a very tough time mustering up forgiveness for this, even though I know it is the right thing to do. I've been sick for two days over these developments. I loved my wife and stepson tremendously. I would literaly love for this personal struggle to end. Thank you for your story. I know it was meant for me…and a lot of others!

  • Lode

    That is what the true final forgiveness is: the recognition that what the other seems to have done to you never occurred.

    I once had a small many bands radio in the Mexican mountains where I lived at the time. It was a remote indigenous village, without even a phone still. My little adobe house had no electricity nor running water yet either. The first day I got out my radio a neighbor Indian boy came to listen to it and put headphones on his head for the first time in his life. I suspected him of wanting to steal it, and I usually left my door open when I went to eat hand made tortillas in the kitchen of my other neighbors, so after he left I hid the little radio well.
    The next evening I wanted to listen to some far away station, but the radio was gone from its hiding place. I immediately knew the boy had come that day when I was gone for a few moments leaving the door as usual open. So in my anger I went to the local authorities, a group of man in their indigenous clothes and hats all sitting together in the only room of the tiny adobe “town hall”. I told them what had happened, and they decided to send a few man to that boy's house to get him. I walked with them up the steep mountain path behind my house. Their only sign of authority -and weapon- was a long wooden stick. In front of where he lived were women cooking food in large tubs as if preparing food for a party. On the way down the boy walked before me, and begged me not to accuse him of this, because tomorrow was his wedding day. So I told him just to give me back my radio, and there would be no problem. But he denied he had stolen it.
    Back in that room with the authorities, the talked a bit among them in Mixteco, their language I didn't understand. Then in Spanish the mayor asked me: “So shall we put him jail until his family brings you the radio?” I was stunned that it was that easy to have someone be put in that little room with bars behind the small house we were in at that moment. So I hesitated, and than said: “I am 99 % sure he took it, but not 100 % as I did not actually see him do it. So no, I don't want you to lock him up.”
    They all laughed, and then the mayor said: “But if you are not sure he stole it, why do you come here accusing him of it?” They all burst out into laughter again while I stood there feeling a bit foolish to put it mildly… so I returned to my dwelling close by.
    Right after I laid down on my straw mat to go to sleep, I suddenly remembered that I had taken and moved the radio to a safer spot after hiding it in the first spot. I jumped up and checked: sure enough, there it was, well hidden under books in a carton box. So I immediately returned to the men who were still sitting in that room with all their hats on and laughing with the boy. I told them that I had found it, and apologized to the boy. I offered to give him the radio to make up for my false accusation and the embarrassment of him. But he thanked me and said no. So I left that room and walked back to my house again.
    About close to my house the boy caught up with me. “Do you really want to give me that radio?”, he asked me in the dark. “Yes, of course. Would you like to have it?” Sounding very happy he answered: “Yes, very much!”
    It was my wedding gift to him. But what he had been willing to give me was incomparably greater: “Don't judge by
    appearances!” This important lesson he gave me -and all of them involved that evening- is still serving me now, more than two decades later, back in the European city of my birth again… and boy am I glad that 1 % not knowing absolutely for sure made me give him the benefit of that tiny doubt.


  • dianemahan

    What an amazing story to share with us–very powerful, especially the idea of forgiveness over justice. We think that justice is right. It reminds us that every lesson is right in front of us, that it is our choice “to be right or be happy” and that turning to the holy spirit first will alway guide us to forgiveness, our bridge home. I appreciate the teacher you've become. xxoo

  • Nerissa Vanta

    Wow. I need help on that especially towards my family who I cherished and love so much. I think it's harder to forgive those who you really love because they hurt and dissapoint you the most. And also to those who hurt them the most. Vice-versa. But I know without the Lord, it will be impossible. But you know, He is faithful and will take you to that path until you overcome and have the victory. He will not take you to another level, until you overcome and conquer that level you are in right now. He is patience, loving and take His time on us. What a GREAT God we serve! Thank you for sharing.

  • Roy M

    What a great story! I can never get enough reminders of the Truth of accepting everyone as the perfect creation of God that they are, in spite of my often mistaken perceptions. Thanks for taking the time to write this out.

  • hi David Paul…wonderful story….forgiveness is always the key..i just foun out on the net that they are selling my pictures..for backgroundimages…relationshippresents, my picture for celphones..ertc…then i also saw that they have linked my youtubes for dietprograms and elling vacations..also my Voice for Love video…
    hope to get guidance from the Voice for love..,
    what should i do..
    going anominous…is not possible anymore io do think..taking all my pictures from facebook…i really do not know..bt selling my pictures is not right..asking myself..where are the borders for forgiveness….

    sending you lots of love


  • alicia

    god works in mysterious ways that we donot understand this story has bought so much value to me i recieved it in the nick of time it has been something bothering me for quite some time and you could not explain it better i have really learn''t my lesson thank you pastor doyle

  • Erwin Wiebe

    Awesome lesson! Thanks for offering it for reading. I am slowly ( on purpose ), reading your book! My spirit tingles and my heart yearns for more of God. I too have had some wonderful flashes and times of hearing (knowing) worth writing about. The LORD willing I will write to you again when I finish the book. II: Thanks for the book!….:II

    Erwin Wiebe

  • Chris, I'm so sorry to hear of your challenging situation. My heart swells with compassion for you and your family. Besides holding you and your family in my prayers, two things come to mind that I can offer you. Please send me an e-mail and I will reply. Many blessings to you.

  • Thank you Diane. You are absolutely right. I appreciate your kind sentiments as well. Blessings to you.

  • Amen!

  • Thanks Roy

  • I'm glad to hear it, Alicia. Many blessings to you

  • I'm so glad to hear that, Irwin. 🙂 are you referring to When God Spoke to Me, or The Voice for Love? I would love to hear your experience of the book when you're done. Lots of love to you. I'm grateful.

  • Thank you so very much for sharing your heart and your life with me and everyone else, Lode. It's a tremendous blessing. I appreciate your love and integrity. Many blessings to you!