BY KIMBERLY JAHNS
Forgive and forget seems to be the cliché that comes to mind when forgiveness is discussed. Yet to actually forgive and forget what happened or what was said? That seems more like saint work than a realistic outcome of a bad situation.
I believe most people assume forgiveness is easily granted. A simple “I forgive you” is easily said after a major mistake or argument. But most people do not actually forgive the other person; they still, internally, hold resentment and anger. To truly forgive someone, is both a blessing for the person receiving and the person giving the forgiveness.
One feels freer after letting anger go and realizing how much the resentment is hurting them more than anything else. It becomes a dark cloud that clutters up a mind with unnecessary feelings. That is not to say that a person does not have a right to be mad and experience the emotion, but there is a point where pent up resentment becomes a waste of energy.
Forgiveness, I believe, cannot be granted for every single circumstance. Some things may be too big or have impacted someone in such a negative fashion that forgiving the other person would do more harm than good. Each person has their own gauge of where forgiveness would help and where forgiveness begins to hurt. Everyone has to determine whether they are willing to hold onto the resentment or let it go.
The forgetting part, on the other hand, is probably the most difficult. Forgiveness is a one-time discussion, forgetting the incident never happened is continual. I also find that forgetting a bad situation is ridiculous. It should not even be included in forgiveness.
If you were to forget every bad thing that happened to you, you would never be able to learn from these experiences. You also may feel as if the situation was ridiculous in the first place and that it would be an obvious next step to simply forget what the person had done. But after someone has done something to you, sometimes you can never go back to your perceived normal perception. This, once again, would depend on each person’s personal gauge of what would help him or her the most.
Presently, I do not even think people realize that apologizing is a two-way street. Yes, one person may have said, “I’m sorry,” but the other person needs to say, or at least make it obvious that they have forgiven. Most people assume that an “I’m sorry” is all it takes to make the entire situation disappear, which completely invalidates the other person’s feelings.
It is arrogant to assume one person is able to control the entire outcome of a bad situation. If a person feels it’s time to apologize, they cannot assume that the other person is ready as well. Everyone needs to take his or her own time to sort out the situation. Even though one person may have apologized the other may have not be ready to accept that apology because he or she has not worked it out for him or herself. All people deal with life at their own pace.
Forgiveness is extremely personal, and each person has hiw or her own way of handling messy situations and dealing with the consequences. But appreciate the forgiveness when you are granted the gift. Be grateful that the other person took the time and worked through his or her feelings in order to make sure the situation was completely worked out and everyone was back to better terms. The person values your friendship. Forgiveness is a beautiful gift for everyone involved.