“Sometimes you learn the meaning of a word by breaking it down, like for-give-ness.”
Forgiving seems to be counter intuitive, doesn’t it? If that jackass wronged me, shouldn’t I just hurt him and that will be that? Short answer: No. He might hurt you in return, and you retaliate, and he retaliates, and there you have the beginnings of your own micro-war. Like big war, micro-war only accomplishes destruction and it doesn’t feel good, either. It’s as though life is a badminton game escalating from rackets and shuttlecocks to machetes.
What if he doesn’t retaliate? You’ve evened the score. Tit for Tat, Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth. You can proudly hold your head high because you stood up to him or her or them. Like the promises on a pesticide bottle, this might read well but the results may have undesirable consequences.
The problem with either of these scenarios is that the jackass, and the wrong, remain present in your memory. He, she, or It, is still there and every time the memory surfaces we’re hurt again, or shamed, or angry, or you-name-it. It keeps eating away at you. You keep covering it up to acquire some peace of mind.
What’s a body to do? There is only one solution that I know of and that is to forgive. This doesn’t mean that you and the jackass will become bosom buddies, although that could happen, too. You might discover that you made a mistake in assessing a fellow human being as a jackass in the first place. Maybe you need to ask your adversary’s forgiveness as well.
When you forgive, as I see it, you give a gift to yourself, it’s “for giving,” and you give a gift to the former jackass, too. You’ve stopped sending bad vibes his way, a gift, and you’ve rid yourself of the bad vibes in your own head around the event.
This isn’t a theory on my part. It’s based on my own real-life experiences. I know that this is how it is and if you have a different opinion, well, you can be sure I’m not going to fight about it. It feels too good to argue.
Imagine if we could forgive any and all recollections of conflicts and hurts from our past. Rid them from our memory, or at least take all the negative emotions out of them. And ask forgiveness, too. Do you know what that would be? That would be Freedom.