Today is the International Forgiveness Day 2008. When I was first reading about this, I had mixed feelings:
- Shouldn't we forgive each day of the year?
- On the other hand: it might be good to just remind people on the power of forgiveness every so often and we have things like Mother's Day, Father's Day etc. as well
I believe it's a good subject to at least think about a bit and the website of Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance offers some first points for this at the least. So I started to do some thinking myself and also asked a friend about her thoughts - read them for yourself, please and let me know what YOU think about the International Forgiveness day!
When Susanne asked me to write a few lines on the subject of "Forgiveness-Day" I didn't imagine what I agreed to.
Now I've been sitting her for hours, remembering, considering, trying to tell what it is in my eyes, in my life. So, those are some of my ideas around the subject:
Forgiveness doesn't mean to forget, become friends and live a life in love and peace...
I think it's more like making a new start. Don't try to change the facts of the past. (Or even: Try to stop doing so.) Acknowledge them to be true. Don't bargain about the importance of those facts for you. If they did violate you, they did. Accept that they did, anything further depends on accepting the truth. It won't ever help you to deny.
But what about the feelings of hatred and the burning long for revenge?
I'm sure that hatred and revenge never do any good, to nobody, not the one who feels or seeks them, not the one who is a target to them. (You know the saying: "What is the good in killing people to show people that killing is wrong?")
Reduced to its point I think hatred is rejecting evil. So reject evil and let it be rejected. Don't keep being concerned all the days of your life. Maybe rejecting will take you more than once to do - do it as often as you need to get rid of that evil damaging you. (Don't get me wrong: It might go on hurting for a long time, but that's not meant by further damage.)
In a simple form, rejecting is just to say "no". Sure, it won't be enough to say "no" in a situation, when your most loved one has been killed. It shouldn't have happened, of course, but it did. Accepting that truth hill help you to go on living.
Once I had to overcome a similar loss and grief. So I'm telling to let you know that I know what I'm talking about.
Two days before my dearest friend was killed we were talking about how to make a will. Both we were aged 24 and didn't possess anything worth to make a will for. It was only the idea of helping the left-behind to continue. My friend Barbara insisted in asking her family and friends to forgive in case of murder or homicide or something like that. That was her inheritance, I had to tell her family.
Justice isn't really a comfort to the grieving. It's got its value in keeping society together. But I'm convinced that justice as revenge is no good to anyone, it's just an illusion.
Life will never be the same after a crime - done or suffered. The past is gone, leaving behind a lot of destruction. But try to make a new start. Give your violated and handicapped life the chance to go on and maybe to change some day.
Some people are even capable to look in the criminal's eyes and not act out of hatred, no matter about their real feelings. There is a difference between the evil that has been done (what can't be changed) and the evil that is going to be done by active hatred in revenge. It is possible to stop it.
Now I'm 48. I didn't forget and I never will. How could I? A great part of my own life has been destroyed. But I had to go through it, gather the pieces together, make "the best of it", start again, live now, not only in the past, not allowing the past to poison my life and the lives of the ones who did what they did to Barbara, to me and to themselves.
So, if you managed to keep on reading until now and you're calling that preyching on a Sunday morning - you may be right. I was just preaching to myself. You've only read my thoughts about "Forgiveness-Day".