Lately, I have had forgiveness on my mind. Mainly, forgiving others. I was reading a column about the importance to forgive in the newspaper the other day, and it really got me to thinking. Actually, this is a topic I will occasionally revisit, only because I have had a very hard time forgiving someone that did a Very Bad Thing to me long ago. I thought I had forgiven him, but because it still makes me angry, I guess I haven't.
That column I read really touched a nerve. It stressed that carrying around a grudge was unhealthy, and that even if the person who has wronged us does not ask for forgiveness, then we should still try to forgive them all the same. I know this is true, how carrying around a grudge can be unhealthy. But I just haven't been able to bring myself to forgive that person yet. He has never asked for forgiveness. In fact, he acts like he didn't do anything wrong. And even if I did forgive him, he'd laugh about it, thinking he got away with a crime.
In a way, he did....
The other day, I was thinking more on this. I always keep asking myself, "WHY did he do that to me? Why?" But I know the reason why. I KNOW it. The family he is in loves HIM more than any of the other family members, and he knows he could get away with anything because, in his mother's eyes, he could Do No Wrong. Also, he was the "special" one in the family. He was raised to believe he was superior to others. That is why he did what he did. I understand that. But I still get angry. That should NOT have happened.
But it did happen. I can't change the past. I believe that we can learn from the past and draw strength from it. But that has not happened, with this particular incident.
I also know that, because he is not remorseful, he would just do it again to somebody else. That is another reason why it's so hard for me to forgive him.
But I could write a whole book of reasons why I should not forgive him. The bottom line is, they are only excuses.
I don't need to forgive him for him. I need to forgive him for myself. It does trouble me that I have not.
All the same, this has made me think about other people out there who have had worst things visited upon them by bad people. Parents whose child was murdered. A child who was abandoned by a drug-addicted mother. I know there are people who have had worse. And I wonder, have they managed to forgive the wrongdoer?
I think if they can, then so can I.
And, you know, this isn't about vengeance. I don't want revenge. I just want closure on that part of my past. I want to stop getting angry over it. I want to heal that wound.
And as for vengeance, well, I am reminded of a quote from the Bible: "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." When someone does something wrong to one person, something wrong is done to them. It's the law of karma, which I believe in. You get what you give. I have seen this in action. I have done bad things to people in the past, and I have had bad things happen to me in return. Sometimes, it's the exact same thing I did. (I was reminded of this today, in fact. Someone in my family who stiffed me ended up getting stiffed by another family member. What goes around comes around!) And, in fact, the person who did that to me has had bad things happen to him, too. You know, life has a way of balancing things out. An eye for an eye. So I have no interest in seeking vengeance.
Just...forgiveness. Peace. Closure.
I have prayed on this a lot. I will continue to pray on it. Hopefully someday, I will be able to forgive that wrongdoer. That is the one thing I must do before I can find peace. Forgive.
"When a deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive."-Alan Paton