Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.
“To err is human but to forgive divine” and you probably believe it is true just like I do. It can either be taken to mean it is normal for a man to err but to forgive means operating in the divine or only the divine can forgive. I may not know what it exactly means but I do know that children have it and we need it.
Some days back, on a sunny afternoon, as I walked down the road that leads to my house, I came by two boys, roughly the age of seven. Both had locally made toys in the form of cars which they pulled with a string behind them. One boy’s toy car lost a wheel and he struggled to fix it. The other in a bid to keep their fun rolling decided to give a helping hand. The first refused and pushed him away. “Ah, what a naughty boy”, I thought, “He deserves no help!” The second boy felt the same (or so I thought) and began to walk away. The boy with the broken toy tried futilely to fix the wheel. It did not take long for him to realize that he needed help. He apologized immediately and asked for help – the same help he had earlier rejected. “No way!” the judge in my head gave verdict, “here is the chance for full pay back.” But to my shame, the first boy who was by now quite a distance away, turned and helped repair the broken wheel of his friend.
I really could not believe it. With kids it seems there will always be a “happily ever after” end to a story. How was it so easy for this kid to forgive and forget? As much as my experience has shown me, it is a difficult thing to forgive. Forgetting is a completely different ballgame. That seven-year-old taught me otherwise.
Forgiveness is a beautiful virtue that the world no longer teaches. Rarely will you hear a public speaker say things like forgive your neighbor. It is one of the virtues that tag people as “weak”. And who wants to be weak? We don’t want to forgive when wronged and funny enough no one is even asking for forgiveness. No one cares if you forgive or not. It is a wild world we live in, a world of vendettas (bloody or not). Consider the words of George Herbert, “He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” If peradventure you want to exercise this virtue here are some tips:
· Make room for people to fail. Human beings will always be human beings and part of being a human is that we will never be perfect. Since we will wrong each other, it is important that we learn to give each other that room to fail. After all, we are humans!
· Let go of your pride. Some times we don't forgive because we feel to proud to be on the losing side of an argument or a business deal or even of a simple decision. This winner-loser mindset robs us of our enjoyment of life and increases our pride quotient. Let go of some pride. You, yes YOU can lose at somethings. If you'll keep this in mind you'll suddenly realize that there wasn't any reason to fear losing in the first place.
· Don’t deny the hurt. Sometimes we simply deny that we have been hurt by someone else and that is the reason we remain hurt. You must learn to accept the fact that you have been hurt if you will forgive. Think about it, what is there to forgive if you say you weren't hurt? Accept and admit being hurt if you really want to forgive the person that hurt you.
· Learn to forgive yourself also. Sometimes the person that needs forgiveness from me is ME. We exhibit unforgiveness towards ourselves even as much as we exhibit it towards others. You really want to learn to forgive? begin with yourself. Forgive yourself for doing things you promised you would never do again.
t The fact is that every single one of us can forgive if we follow the steps outlined above.