This is an essay about forgiveness—forgiving others and yourself and about the benefits of forgiveness. Everyone is forgiven when they die. In death, people start to see beyond your badness.
“She was not perfect, she hurt people, but let us respect her memory.”
“He was mean and disloyal, but let us respect his memory.”
Most of us become more willing to forgive other people after they have died. We start to see all the good they did in when they have died, yet, it’s not easy to see that during their presence. Seemingly giving more respect to the dead than to the living.
Why do you find it hard to let go of vengeance and the desire to see another person suffer for their mistakes? If we live a life of punishing people for their errors, who would stand?
When someone dies people subconsciously consider his sins paid for.
This idea is based on the Bible, the wages of sin is death, therefore, when you die, you have paid for your sins—Romans 6:7,23.
How could you possibly carry out retaliation to a person who is no longer there to hate? Oh, how much better would life be if only people learnt to forgive others when they are still alive?
What is Forgiveness?
Misunderstanding what forgiveness is makes it hard for people to grasp the concept and their ability to choose forgiveness over revenge. What is forgiveness? Where does forgiveness start? Why is it so hard to forgive? What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
Forgiveness and survival
Forgiveness is the reason for the survival of humanity. Before God’s mercy for whom we owe our lives, there is the mercy of the law, before the law, there is the individual choice to forgive another. If at an individual level you choose to forgive the person who offends you, you might not need to take them to court, especially for petty errors. You thus save the court’s time allowing them to deal with more serious criminals.
Forgiveness and reconciliation
For some reason the general idea is that forgiveness equals reconciliation, hence people find it tough to forgive because they immediately assume that it means going back to the original relationship with the wrongdoer.
The battered husband can forgive his wife and still proceed with a divorce. The betrayed friend can forgive his friend but cut ties with that friend forever.
Refusing to forgive
People who have deceived themselves into thinking they have the power to dictate to others how to live, what to do with their lives and feel obligated to force them to meet their unmet desires. This is a key sign that ego issues are preventing you from being forgiving.
Refusing to forgive gives you the illusion of power, whereby you think the person who offended you will simply realize his mistake by a mere roll of eyes, giving them a certain mean look or telling all the world about their mistake.
Holding to resentment makes you feel like you are some god with the power to ruin another by merely directing hatred and grudges toward them. In the end, holding a grudge, hatred, or anger is an internal process which ruins the bearer more than the one to whom the missile is directed to. It’s a weight upon your heart.
Forgiveness is letting go
Forgiveness is letting go of the weight of resentment against someone who offended you. Forgiveness a personal thing and no one should feel obligated to act in a certain way to prove that he has forgiven someone. Ultimately, the choice is personal, in the above situations, the victims can choose to give their relationship another chance depending perhaps on how many times the offence has occurred and based on personal tolerance thresholds. Forgiveness is for the mentally strong and emotionally intelligent.
Dealing with humans is a tough business. They can act remorseful and shed some tears to show you how sorry they are, but some time later they make the same mistake or even worse.
It’s tough to forgive when the wrongdoers seem to get on with life while their actions ruined yours. You can never regain what you lost no matter what.
Or, the wrongdoers seem to do better than you in life perhaps financially, relationship-wise etc.
Easier to forgive the seemingly remorseful person than the one who has no remorse.
The offender points fingers at you and blames you for their own mistakes.
Remember, you have hurt people too. you have offended others either knowingly or unknowingly at some point. You need to be forgiven too. Being fixed on the unforgiving mindset hurts you more than it hurts the person you are directing your hate at. Forgiving frees you.
To practice forgiveness means not revenging on the person who hurt you in the same measure. Respond to insults with kindness and calmness. Fight their evil with goodwill.
Luke 6:35 says The Most High is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Do the same. There’s more character in forgiving than in being unforgiving.
The one insulting you is subconsciously trying to provoke you and innately knows that you are likely to respond with the same venom. Therefore, to throw them off balance you need to do what they do not expect you to.
Pay evil to evil, or insult to insult to no one but instead pay with blessing says 1 Peter 3:9.
Self-forgiveness and healing
Forgiving yourself for the mistakes you commit against other people is a prerequisite for peace of mind. Self-forgiveness is a form of self-compassion and kindness to yourself. Forgiveness heals you from bitterness, anger, and resentment. If you don’t forgive yourself, you will lose your self-worth and self-love. Losing this means you might direct your negative self-perceptions toward others perhaps through insults, abuse, violence, and other injurious acts.
However, to forgive yourself, you have to first ask for forgiveness from the person you have hurt if there is a person involved. If not, your issue might be a situation that warrants divine forgiveness. Hence, keep praying for forgiveness of your sins. Even if the other person does not forgive you, God will still forgive you. Which forgiveness matters more?
How People Revenge
The propensity to return the favour when bombarded with negative behaviour from another. The first thing to do when responding to an insult is to insult back. When that wheel begins moving it’s hard to stop it.
In general, this is how we revenge:
Telling everyone about the wrong that was done to them, sometimes everyone but the wrongdoer.
Planning some way of hurting the wrongdoer visibly, perhaps physically, emotionally, socially or financially.
Trying to ruin the reputation of the person who wronged them.
Seeking vengeance can lead you to appear as the one on the wrong in the long run.
How can you achieve inner harmony and mental peace if you are in constant battle within your own mind concerning another person’s actions, who has no idea what is in your mind or that you lose sleep while he is peacefully sleeping? You got to forgive people and keep living. Life is cruel. The warmth of your soul is not enough and forgiveness must be combined with wisdom, courage and emotional intelligence.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.