Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It’s a hard thing to get and an even harder thing to give. Who hasn’t experienced the inability to forgive?
Forgiveness is far more Godly that I originally thought. It’s tough business offering up absolution when you are left feeling insulted, wounded and deceived. I don’t think that humans were made from a forgiving cloth. If they were, they obviously ran out before I was born.
Hitler, child and animal abusers, Bernie Madoff, BP (yes, I hold a grudge), politicians, the IRS (I hate these guys!), are among those who might see pigs fly before my absolution falls upon them. Clearly I am forgiveness impaired.
I’m not alone in my inability (or unwillingness) to forgive. Pretty much everyone I speak to has someone on their list of un-forgivables. It seems to me that forgiveness comes from the strength and the ability to let go of the hurt and the blame. Wow, can it get any harder? Let’s just say I’m still working on it.
Relationships depend upon it, business leans on it and the world insists on it. Forgiveness is the mother of healing and without it we are left with a wound that constantly needs tending. And many of us do.
They say that until we forgive we are forever tied to the person(s) who hurt us. That’s an awful thought and offers up a pretty healthy incentive.
Still, I do wonder about the difference between forgetting and forgiving. I stand by the notion (possibly completely false) that they are not one in the same.
I subscribe to the chain of thought that forgiving is one thing, forgetting is quite another. To forgive someone who has wronged you is almost saintly. To forget what they did is just plain stupid. I tend to always watch my back once a knife has been placed in it. Color me paranoid, but history has been known to repeat itself.
John F. Kennedy said it nicely: Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. Smart cookie that Kennedy.
But I do have to wonder; is everyone worthy of forgiveness? And is it really our job to give it out?
I’m told that forgiveness gives happiness and peace of mind to the forgiver. It makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is why so many of us harbor and hold onto our hurt. It’s exhausting. Maybe we should just forgive ourselves for having such a tough time of forgiving some of the asinine people we have had the displeasure of trusting. Yeah, I’m thinking that should cover us.
I’ve heard it said that forgiveness is divine; and for good reason. Only a God could forgive some of the unthinkable things that we have done to each other. The truth is I even have a hard time forgiving myself should I do something unworthy of my character. I’m an equal opportunity un-forgiver (I think that’s a word).
I think that most of us have a few people on our list of those we cannot seem to forgive. I’d like to think I’m not the only one. I know ex husbands and ex wives are up there, along with parents, employers; politicians (don’t even get me started).
If Indira Gandhi was right and forgiveness is a virtue of the brave, then maybe it is courage we should be seeking.
Something to think about.