Saturday, May 15, 2010

Forgiveness ???

Isn’t it such an irony that, those of us who call ourselves Christians, cannot forgive others?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'. In the bible, perhaps one of the famous parables of forgiveness is illustrated in the story of the ‘prodigal son’.

But even so, even I myself have found it irrational to possess this thing called forgiveness. I will always be the first to stand up and admit and say that I still bear the traits of unforgiveness of others who have done me wrong. I don’t easily forgive and forget. I mean who in their right mind would ever give up hatred, resentment, anger and freely give pardon to someone who has done us wrong. How would a mother forgive a man who raped then brutally kill her daughter or a man forgive another man who kills his only brother? How do you ever forgive someone who has done something so bad to the people you hold so dear? How do you forgive someone like that without anger and resentment and seek no justice or restitution for the wrongs he/she has done to you?

I know that even Christians posses unforgiveness in their hearts because we are all human beings susceptible to the failings of life.The British scientist and statesman, Francis Bacon, once said: ‘We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends’. Yet he is so right when he says that. How do we even fathom to think of forgiving your enemy when even we cannot find the courage to forgive those who are close to us? Mother Theresa once said ‘that to truly forgive is to forget’...I know she is right but i also know that it is not in human nature to forget easily those who have wronged you.

That is why I believe it is very hard to think of forgiveness as a rational emotion and behaviour or human being like trait that we can possess quickly. This is because forgivenss is, itself, irrational to the human mind. It is not something that someone 'likes' doing or 'easily' does as it is something that goes against the social norms of revenge, fear, hatred, disgust. Forgiveness is to do the opposite. And to do the opposite is considered 'weak' by society.

Yet, we human beings can forgive others. And many have forgiven and many more have accepted forgiveness. Everyday God reminds us to forgive. And today, Iam reminded of forgivness and being forgiving. I watched this video of the story of the Amish people in America. It is about how they reacted to the killing of the members of their community - their children. It is a quiet reminder of how they, as a people, show forgiveness toward someone who has done them wrong.


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