When We Say Forgiveness, What Do We Mean?

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Hello, y’all. Let’s talk about something a little different. I say different because this post may not go exactly as you expect. Read with an open mind.

The topic is forgiveness. Forgiveness is a rather sensitive subject. It is also one of the most misused words, I dare say. If you are a Christian, the most common phrase you hear all the time is 'forgive and forget.’ It doesn’t matter if you are hurting, or if the culprit actually deserves your forgiveness. Let’s take a look at the meaning.

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary:

the act of forgiving someone or something. The attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people.

Forgive

to stop feeling anger towards (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)

More often than not, we never consider if the offended person is really ready to take that step before we start cajoling them. We feel it is what is right for them. This may be true, but forgiveness that doesn’t come from deep within is just as useless. Someone who’s talked into forgiving someone when they are not ready never stops feeling anger and pain. They also never move on.

I recently heard a story about a five year old child molested by an eighteen year old boy. The mother had noticed how she winced in pain while giving her a bath and started asking questions. She was able to get the name of the young man from her child. Without raising any alarm, she called her husband, and together, the went to the police and arrested him. Now, the mother of the boy, in her attempt to prove how good a boy her son was, went to the woman’s house to scream and shout. When the son finally confessed to doing it, she switched to begging. She threw the forgive and forget tag, and invited people to come and beg with her. The child’s mother got angry and arrested all of them.

The ending is a bit funny, I know. Now, in the above scenario, do you think the woman went too far by arresting them too? I know I would murder anyone who made the mistake of molesting my child, given the opportunity. It would be a very long time before I forgive, if ever. In this woman’s case, the law was already handling the issue, but within hours of her finding out her child was hurt, perhaps permanently, she had already been told to not only forgive, but to forget as well.


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There are people whom forgiveness come naturally to. They can never hold a grudge no matter how hard they try. In as much as it’s beautiful to rid one’s self of hurt and anger, it also makes them more vulnerable to wolves in human form. They are being taken advantage of because they always forgive. Some will say that it’s a strength, not a weakness. There are also people who take their time to come to terms with their pain before they forgive. There are yet others who will definitely forgive but will never want to see the face of the predator ever again. Here, I would ask, where do you belong?

People should be given the time and the opportunity to make that decision themselves. Talking someone into forgiving when they are not yet ready only kills a part of them. They bury the pain and anger so deep that it keeps them on a ledge that might push them over whenever it springs forth. In some cases, it never does and a part of the person dies with it. In some other cases, the person finds healing from it and in time find peace. But people are different and should be allowed to make that decision.

Forgetting is another serious one. There are people who can forgive but can never forget. I once heard someone say she would never forget. In her words, ‘forgetting is like having amnesia.’ To her, it’s like living a lie. She needs to remember so as to not make the same mistake again. She needs a reminder that certain decisions that led to that particular situation should be avoided, and for the ones she has no control over, it helps her watch out for the possible signs.

I am for forgiveness, one hundred percent. I am this person who doesn’t know how to hold a grudge, but I stay angry for a long time. The anger helps connect with the pain and speeds up the healing process. When you forgive, let it be because you are ready. Do it for you, for your own peace of mind, not for them. It makes more sense that way.


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