To Be or Not To Be
A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!
~A Wise Man Said~
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~When in Lancaster~
Life as PhD Student
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Monday, February 18, 2002
It's quite an accepted theory these days; those who can forgive and forget lead a healthier and happier life. In any situation involving a victim and a perpetrator, one finds that there is an additional burden on the victim; that he must forgive. The victim is accorded due sympathy, but with one advice and that, he must forgive.
It must be said that here the victim's well being is at the heart of the issue. If he does not forgive or forget, there is no way he can gain a peace of mind, there is no way he can move on to a better life. Keeping your wounds green is hardly the way to heal them. If you want to recover, if you want to come out of your suffering, then for your own sake, you will have to forget what was done to you; for your own sake, you will have to forgive the wrong doer. Perhaps he will atone for his sins in a better world, but for now, you need to learn how to forgive. These and numerous other arguments will be offered, which, one might say to oneself, have a lot of sense in them.
Trouble is, I fail to see it for myself.
I have nothing against "forgiveness" as such, but I don't think it's as simple as it is made out to be. If it were, there would be no need for courts and jailhouses. A simple dose of "forgiveness" would settle the matter, once and for all. The fact that these institutions do exist (and have existed for centuries past) should tell us something.
I would forgive a person, if and only if, I was sure that the person realizes the wrong he has done, is repentant, and is also ready to atone for his sin. If a person asks my forgiveness so he may escape punishment at the hands of law, I would not forgive him. It is not his conscience that drives him to me, but fear of punishment. On the other hand, if he asks my forgiveness so he may live in peace the last days of his life, after he has been sentenced, I would forgive him. I would want him to escape a harsh trial. He knows he has done wrong and is ready to suffer for his guilt. I would not let him suffer.
I feel that the act of forgiving cannot be one-sided. If it involves a person ready to forgive, it must necessarily involve a person who desires to be forgiven. Desires to be forgiven in that he is aware of his guilt and recognises it as such. He is genuinely ready to make amends, not merely to mouth big words. Here, I would say, forgiveness, real forgiveness and healing can happen.
Those who don't really care for forgiveness but nevertheless ask for it are the types who would "like to have their cake and eat it too." Forgiveness cannot be bought cheap, least of all, for free. It involves a cost on both sides.
I wonder if one can really achieve a peaceful frame of mind by saying "I forgive" when there hasn't even been an acknowledgement by the wrong doer. When there hasn't even been a validation of one's right to forgive. If one can, there's nothing like it.
Even God requires men to confess their sins before they're forgiven (or atleast, we're told so), and after all, we're only men.