We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There’s some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us – Martin Luther King Jr
Until recently, I had never thought myself to be unforgiving. And that’s not because I consider myself one of the holiest of holies. It’s just that I’ve never truly had trouble with forgiving people. It’s one of those little things that you’re almost tempted to believe come naturally to you.
I guess I lost my good girl charm or something lol. Because I’ve come to realise that forgiveness can sometimes be the hardest thing in the world!
I’m talking forgiveness and the lack of it but before you’re quick to exonerate yourself from this one. Just a moment. Remember
yoruba demon Ade, the ex you caught cheating with your roommate, Fatima. You’ve forgiven him abi? Okay. But you still don’t mind karma doing your dirty job and messing him up badly just like he did you? Lol talk about forgiveness! Let’s not forget your former bestie Onyi, who betrayed your friendship. You say you’ve let it go but there’s still this tiny piece of you that secretly hopes that someday she’d regret the way she treated you. Forgiveness indeed!
I’m sure by now you already get the picture I’m trying to paint. Unforgivingness isn’t something that’s peculiar to a handful of people. It’s not a vice that’s exclusive to the bad eggs of the society. It’s in you. It’s in me. Even religion doesn’t change that reality. Each of us has the innate ability to be unforgiving. In fact, it comes naturally to us. It’s our programmed response to hurt. So yes, you’re guilty too.
Forgiveness is treating someone who has offended you as though they never did. And in as much as that sounds impossible, it’s very achievable. True forgiveness is not an action, it’s a process. A process that begins with a decision. A choice. So when we say, “I forgive you”, it doesn’t end there. In fact it marks the beginning of a long process. ‘I forgive you’ doesn’t automatically deactivate any ill feelings but what it means is that you’ve committed to making conscious efforts to forget the wrong the other person did and to give them a clean slate.
How can I ever forgive him/her? I bet that’s the question on your mind right now. I know because I’ve had to ask myself same many times. Answer is ‘you can!’ You can if you want to. You can if you try to. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s going to take a while. But you can! If you truly love(d) someone, you’ll find the strength somehow to forgive them. Life is too short to be going around with the kind of emotional baggage that comes with unforgivingness. We’re human. We make mistakes. It’s what we do best. You’ve got to let it go!
While this whole forgiveness business is still something I’m constantly trying to relearn, it may seem a bit too tedious at first especially if you don’t think the person is worth the trouble in the first place. But one thing that has helped me, is realising that forgiveness is more about me than anyone else. Iyanla Vazant once said, “Forgiveness is not about the other person or what they did. Forgiveness is for you and about you.”
You’re not forgiving them because they deserve it, you’re doing so because you deserve peace. And that, is the real truth!
What are your thoughts on forgiveness? Have you had issues forgiving people? How did you overcome it? Please share in the comments section!