The Awfulness of Forgiveness


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To forgive is divine, yet many do not seem to find godliness that attractive, really. And I think I can understand why. The act of forgiveness asks a lot of the victim – a lot more trust, understanding and an ability to let go of a grudge. All the while promising nothing in return. Indeed a lot of times it boomerangs back on the trusting soul that seeks to forgive.

 When someone commits a mistake – or a crime, or a sin – there are three things he/she must do to ask for forgiveness. To apologise. To accept that it was his/her fault. And to make it right – and most people tend to forget this one. I wonder if this is one of the main reasons people find it difficult to forgive: the absence of signs of atonement. Ok, so may be sometimes the crime (or the mistake) seems too big, too heinous to forgive. Cheating of a spouse. Betrayal of a friend (or country). Murder. Rape. Especially the last one. It’s horrible isn’t it? Because forgiveness has to start from the victim, and it seems so unfair to ask more from you, when so much has already been taken from you. Some people can do it and may want to, some may not. Some may seem unable to. Some may try and fail. Most of all, every one of them might feel, at one point or the other that it is so unfair to expect them to forgive.

 Is it scary? Hell yes. They do say that sometimes, giving a person a second chance is like giving them a second bullet for their gun because they missed you the first time. But then, the only things worth doing usually involve taking a huge risk: declaring your love, following your dreams, forgiving a betrayal – all metaphorical stepping off the cliff. And need an ironclad faith that you will land on your feet. And when you do, you realize it took nothing more than taking that step, and everything else was taken care of. Is it difficult? Nerve wracking? Seemingly impossible? Damn right it is. Forgiveness is not for the faint hearted.

 Real forgiveness – not the one that secretly hopes justice will still be served – involves letting the pain go. It takes trust, all the more difficult when you are vulnerable. But this is the thing I realized over my attempts at forgiveness – it has nothing to do with the perpetrator, and everything to do with the victim. To forgive never means that justice will not be served – they’re NOT mutually exclusive. To me, it simply means that you are willing to attempt to move on. It is closure to the victim, not the perpetrator. Every attempt at forgiveness – even the failed ones – takes you one step closer to liberation. Because I feel that’s what it does. Forgiveness liberates you. It lets you live your life without the betrayal defining it, or the person you are. It frees you from the cycle of chasing justice, which for most people is really only chasing revenge. 

But THAT is another post altogether.


The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi


One thought on “The Awfulness of Forgiveness

  1. Pingback: Extreme Forgiveness - Mutual Spiritual Affinity

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