Growing up, I heard the phrase forgive and forget so many times and to be honest I did not really have a problem with the act of forgiving and forgetting (especially since I am naturally quite forgetful of things). Now, whether that is a good thing or not, I will let you decide. Anyway, back to this blog post, this academic year was one of the hardest years of my life in terms of my interactions and encounters with people. I have been involved in so many conflicts and misunderstandings which I never thought I would ever encounter as a person because generally, I really do not like conflict and would do anything to avoid it. With some of the conflicts, they were resolved quickly and then we moved on and the others not too much. I always tell my friends that I am a very sensitive person and I do wear my heart on my sleeves. Thus, for example, if someone offends me, I will let you know about it. I may not approach you in the best way but my intentions are good because I would want you to know how our actions have impacted me and hopefully, by talking about it, we can move on (that’s just me). Of course, things do not always happen the way that we would like and I believe Robert Burns said it best when said “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
I am not going to reveal too much of what happened but I was extremely hurt by someone’s words and behaviour towards me. I felt like my character was being dragged into the mud even to the point that I had to defend myself excessively on numerous occasions. Now if you know or don’t know me, my worst nightmare is being portrayed as someone that I am not. Thus, to have someone close to me portray me in that light, I am not going to lie but that really haunted me for days. I kept reflecting on what I might have done for the person to come to such conclusion but I could not find any reason. Subsequently, I became very disappointed to the point that I could not bring myself to forgive and forget.
Just because something is not going to hurt you does not mean it will not hurt someone else. There are things my friends say to me but I cannot say to them because their feelings would be hurt and mine would not. As part of being in a relationship (whether it be friendship, romantic etc.) not doing what you think is right but what would not hurt the person you’re in relationship with is one of the key ways of maintaining that relationship because I have come to a realisation that you can be right, but your approach or intention about the situation can make you just as bad as the person who is in the wrong if you act on emotions. Therefore, we ought to be careful with our words and actions when faced with predicaments.
Unfortunately, the topic of forgiveness seems to be more popular among those who know they need to receive it. Those of us in need of giving forgiveness are not always as enthusiastic about the subject and I believe that the hardest part of it all is forgiving someone who never apologised. In fact, I thought to myself forgiveness in this case means the wrong did not matter. Therefore, I refused to be the better person because I was sick and tired of doing that; I wanted to see a change in behaviour before forgiving but then I realised that the Lord sees all things and knows everything and honestly, I am just as flawed. (JOHN 8:7)
To conclude, the decision to forgive is not a sign of weakness, nor does it make us susceptible to being hurt again. I once read this quote by an Australian poet by the name of Beau Taplin which sums up why forgiveness it vital. It goes like this:
“I forgive you. Not for you, but for me. Because like chains shackling me to the past I will no longer pollute my heart with bitterness, fear, distrust or anger. I forgive you because hate is just another way of holding on, and you don’t belong here anymore.”
Forgiveness does not say, “I am excusing your actions and allowing you to continue to hurt me.” True forgiveness says, “What you did has hurt me, but I will not let the pain you caused me breed any ill will in my heart towards you.” You can distance yourself from people for your own safety, and still forgive them.