Forgiveness empowers you to forget someone’s bad deeds and not to punish him/her for that blunder. Sometimes, a person performs such an act that hurts us, or anyone commits such mistake that makes our lives tough. And, our response to that can cause damage on both sides. For example, we fight or plan to take revenge which means we do the same bad deed which the other person did. With that, there will be no difference between that person and us. Secondly, forgiveness is believed to be the best revenge. It is an act of overcoming the feeling of revenge that causes no damage to our self-respect, instead makes us more respectable.
When we avoid forgiveness, a feeling to take revenge always resides in our minds which can provoke frustration and as a result we might damage our personalities. But if we go easy and forgive someone on his or her bad deeds, we feel relaxed posing a great impact on our personality.
The famous saying by Alexander Pope from his “An Essay on Criticism” refers, “To err is human; to forgive.” What makes the power of forgiveness comparable to the divinity of God?
The most common human nature is to remember the undesirable actions of others which had impacted them and feel resentful towards those who have given the woe.
Forgiveness is a virtue but the way people perceive it, is quite relative. While certain actions are forgivable for few, others don’t feel the same. Some people believe forgiveness encourages the wrongdoer to perform all kinds of wrong deeds repeatedly. Forgiveness is subjective and the act of forgiveness can have many meanings. Acceptance of apology may be forgiveness for some, while helping the other person who has hurt you to get out of the habit of ill-treatment may be a way for the rest.
We all commit mistakes. So when we learn to forgive others, we can also seek forgiveness when we commit follies. Also, being able to forgive others also teaches to forgive ourselves in situations of self-guilt. Thus, the virtue of forgiveness helps us come out of the feeling of self-blame. Forgiveness is considered as a way to self-fulfilment. People who can readily forgive others are much more responsible and calmed inside than those who keep grudges against others and develop feelings of enmity. The feeling of anguish only results in arguments, fights, mistreatments and war in certain cases. In short, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger.
Now, let us take the example of a terrorist who kills hundreds of innocent people in an attack. Does he deserve forgiveness? Such criminals kill the common men in the name of religion and consider it a way to please or reach the God. Heinous acts of this degree don’t deserve mercy at any cost. Though there are people who would still believe that forgiveness is the greater half of humanity, yet to discourage and prevent any such future acts of terrorism, such criminals must be severely punished and not forgiven.
If the people who are close to you betray or hurt you, you find it most difficult to forgive them. Sometimes the extent to which your trust is breached determines the ease or difficulty in forgiving. But it is true that the more easily we forgive the other person, the less likely we shall suffocate ourselves keeping bad intentions for the wrongdoer. We need to feed it into our system to let go so that we don’t stay annoyed and offended for long. Our grudges will only affect the relationship and not hurt the other person whatsoever.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)