BY J E SOLOMON
The importance of forgiveness has been stressed over and over yet sometimes we tend to overlook its benefits. Forgiveness is beneficial to the forgiver in particular, and also the forgiven. “Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival…. (It) is the sepsis of the soul, the cleansing of the mind and the liberation of the heart.” — POPE FRANCIS
After a betrayal or bitter disappointment by a trusted friend, colleague, or partner, usually the admonitions one gets to hear from sympathizers are, “Forgive and forget,” and, “Let bygones be bygones,” But, do people always forget and let bygones be bygones? It all depends.
In life mistakes do happen. A person’s unintended action could hurt another terribly. Usually a sincere apology expressed with a sense of regret may be all it takes to appease the injured person and there’ll be no bad blood thereafter.
Mistakes — actions that are misguided or wrong, usually occur without malice aforethought. They’re not the same as deliberate actions that are perpetrated with the prime motive of causing personal injury, such as character assassination, fraud, cheating, breaking trust, deceitful act that causes another the loss of golden opportunity, etc. Only a fool will equate malice or treachery with mistake. Malice is intentional and evil, and so is treachery. They smack of deep-seated hatred.
Repeated unkindly acts by the same person calculated to damage another’s reputation and cause injury should not be taken lightly even when the victim chooses to forgive. It might be in the best interest of the injured person to keep a distance, possibly cut ties with the perpetrator of what’s obviously a show of active ill-will.
Separating oneself from such a person should not be viewed as unchristian. The fact that someone could be malicious enough to remain adamant in the pursuit of evil over and over, should be strong signal to the victim to be forewarned. It’s an indication of a depraved mind. Who knows what the next evil act may be?
Many victims of unkindly acts naturally go through distressing moments to deal with hurt feelings but, somehow, manage to forgive and let bygone be bygone. Time eventually heals their aching hearts. How soon their hearts are healed and how quickly their anger is mollified depends on the degree of the injury and the timing. The attitude of the aggressor also counts.
The forgiven partner’s role thereafter could either make it easier or harder for the forgiver in the healing process. That is, if the relationship continues. People who break trusts and hurt others in a relationship, be it business partnership or love affair, and shows no remorse whatsoever, but instead an attitude of pride and egocentrism, have no conscience and do not understand or appreciate the value of forgiveness. They don’t deserve any fraternal intercourse with kind-hearted people.