To err is human, to forgive, divine. –Alexander Pope
When someone hurts us intentionally, we believe that we have the right to judge them, take revenge and look down on them, don’t we? We come across various people in our lives; we are both blessed and hurt by them at different times. When the wound is deep, we hold grudges because we think it’s unfair to forgive and release that person. We feel by staying angry, taking revenge and holding grudges, we will be justified.
A few years back, while coming back from a friend’s wedding, I got a news that tore me apart. It was overwhelming. I cried the whole night. As days passed by, I started developing anger and bitterness towards the person (let’s call him Zac) who was directly involved in causing so much pain. Whenever I saw him around, my eyes burnt with anger. Soon, my anger and bitterness turned into hatred. I didn’t like the sight of him. In my mind, I murdered him a thousand times and felt vindicated.
Though I was myself everywhere I went, the hatred and bitterness that I developed locked me in the prison of unforgiveness. I thought I was keeping Ryan in custody, but it was the other way round. I struggled because I chose to hold on to my pain for a long time. It took me three years to forgive him and be healed of all the pain, bitterness and anger.
On the other hand, I caused pain in another person’s life (let’s call her Lucy) because of my selfishness. One day, things went out of hand, and she experienced unbearable pain. She could have hated or felt bitter towards me for all that happened. However, she didn’t turn out like me. She graciously forgave me. This doesn’t mean she didn’t feel any pain. Because she chose to forgive me, she found healing sooner than I did.
She showed me that it requires a big heart to forgive grave mistakes.
When we compare these two situations, don’t you think Lucy lived a better and peaceful life than I did. Isn’t it obvious that her choice to forgive made a difference to both of us? Only when we learn to let go of people’s mistakes like Lucy did, we can be at peace with ourselves and with those around us.
How long can we hold on to the hurt, pain or loss that someone caused? How long will we hold on to grudges, thinking we are justified by them? How long will we live in hatred towards those who have done us wrong? How long?
The sooner we learn to forgive those who hurt us, the easier it is for us to let go and move on.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. –Mark Twain