By Darrion Narine, Programme Manager AMMR
Forgiveness is hard. Many people speak about forgiveness as if it were easy to do but if you have ever been in a situation where emotions are flaring, then you will know that it is not as simple as it may seem.
The strength to forgive is a spiritual will that goes beyond the flesh. In Matthew 18:21–22, Peter asked the question: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
If we encountered someone in Trinidad and Tobago who forgives another person 490 times, we will call them a ‘cunumunu’. This is because we see forgiveness as being foolish and weak.
When we are unable to look for the divine spark within each human being, forgiveness becomes difficult, and it is easy to lose sight of the dignity of the human person.
Forgiveness is a skill that is strengthened by the spirit. That is why whenever we find ourselves in a situation where we have been wronged it is imperative that we pray first before acting.
The other problem is that we are quick to cast judgement without first analysing the whole situation. Many people are struggling in their personal life, and this results in high levels of stress. I have learnt that stress makes people behave in abnormal ways and they can say or do hurtful things.
This is why it is important to try to understand the perspective or position of the other person. I am not saying to accept their behaviour but rather understanding them can help us to approach from a place of kindness which then makes it easier to forgive.
We should also reflect on the situation and analyse our own actions. In some instances, our own personal biases, reactions, or emotions can exacerbate a situation and we may also have some fault in a disagreement.
If we can recognise this, it makes it easier to admit our wrongs and forgive others as well.
The intensity of the offense can also hamper our ability to forgive. In circumstances such as this, take time to reflect and pray. Some offenses can be forgiven quite easily while others require us to strengthen our spiritual will.
The most important thing is to continue working towards forgiving the person. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison daily, it will only result in our own detriment.
Catholic Social Justice speaks about the importance of building the common good, which can only be done when we build communities that are willing to forgive.
Additionally, forgiveness does not mean ignoring the reality. If someone engages in a harmful behaviour repeatedly, it is important to remove yourself from the situation. Even though you forgive them, it is important that you protect yourself and others from harm.
Finally, learn to forgive yourself. Many times, we wrong others or ourselves and we believe that we are not deserving of forgiveness. If ever you find yourself in this situation, always remember that God’s grace is abundant.
Life is not easy until we discover love, and love with purity of intention makes it easy to forgive ourselves and others. Once we centre our love in God’s grace, forgiveness becomes easy.
If you are holding a grievance in your heart, or as us Trinis would say: ‘If yuh holdin’ somebody in mind’, take this as a sign to forgive them and give them a call. May the Holy Spirit be your guide.
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