There is a teleserial – ‘Zindagi ki haqeeqat ka Aamana Samana’ – telecast on Indian TV on weekends which deals with real life incidences that people can not handle themselves. Those problems are discussed by all concerned in front of a jury in a court which tries to reach a decision acceptable to all concerned.
On Sep. 8, 2012 I watched an unusual incidence in the episode. A boy brings his father in front of the jury and says that his father hates his own father and has kept him in the attic of the house. He provides him with food and other basic necessities but doesn’t speak to and care for him. The boy doesn’t like the treatment meted out to his grandfather by his own son and his wife.
On being asked by a jury member why he is behaving in the unbecoming manner with his father, he replies that his father abandoned him and his mother 40 years ago when he was of the tender age of 2 years. His mother had to do menial jobs in the homes of others to make a living and to make the two ends meet. They had suffered insurmountable difficulties when he was away. Since then he has hated him. Now all of a sudden he has come back to live with them. Since he is unable to erase those memories of problems of his childhood, he hates him and therefore behaves with him in this manner.
Then the jury asks his mother about the incidence, which she verifies. But it appears that she has forgiven her husband and wants him to live with them but she cannot express her wish because her son will not accept it and will feel hurt by her wish. So she keeps her wish to herself. Once her husband falls ill, she secretly takes him to a hospital in New Delhi for his treatment without telling her son and others. This evidently shows that she has forgiven her husband.
In the court, when his son comes to know about this incidence, he loses his temper and breaks down after an emotional burst. On seeing all, his father feels remorse and asks for his forgiveness. This dissipates his hatred for his father and he cools down and finally forgives his father. After the act of forgiveness, they all feel happy now and the family is finally united to live happily.
Similarly, we all find ourselves in many situations where we are hurt, offended, harmed or abused. Many similar situations arise with our family members and friends. We feel it more when our nearest and dearest hurt us. It is quite easy to harbor resentment and animosity but it is also not difficult to forgive. Resentment and bitterness are toxic emotions and harboring them will only harm us physically and mentally.
Forgiveness is an extremely valuable skill we all should learn to develop. Forgiveness is letting go of need of revenge and feeling of resentment and bitterness. We should forgive the person but not the wrong committed by him.
Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen. We learn many lessons from the incidence without holding onto grudge and resentment. Forgiveness doesn’t mean a permission to continue the offending behavior. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean reconciliation. The decision if we want to reconcile or maintain a distance rests with us.
How to forgive-
It is easy to talk about forgiveness but in fact it is not so easy to forgive someone. It needs a skill to forgive. May be that the hurt you faced is so bad that you find it hard to forgive. You don’t have to make it known to those who have hurt you that you have forgiven them. It is crucial to forgive in order to resolve relationships and to clear the conscience.
- Acknowledgement- The first step is to acknowledge that we have been hurt. We have to know who has hurt us and why and how we have been hurt.
- Act bigger- After knowing why we have been hurt, find out if you have first hurt the person knowingly or unknowingly. If somebody has hurt you because of some thing you did, you cannot expect them to come to you, so apologize first.
- Have patience- A pain takes some time to pass off. Pain will not disappear the moment you say that “I forgive you.” So you have to have patience. If the anger and resentment persists long after the hurt, then get some professional counseling.
- Forgive yourself- This is the hardest step in the process to forgive. You must pinpoint exactly what it was that you did to make this person hurt you. Then you will understand that your act was wrong but it doesn’t mean that you are a wrong person. Thus, in the process you will be able to forgive yourself.
- Set limits- After truly forgiving someone, make the person promise they will not hurt you again. If they truly commit themselves not to hurt you, you can let them come back in your life. This will take some time. Initially, allow a phone call once or twice a week. Once you feel that they are sincere, allow them to visit you periodically for short time and gradually restore the relationship.
By taking the above steps, one can truly forgive those who have hurt you.
The quote by Lewis B. Smedes will make us realize the significance of forgiveness.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”