Somehow, the thought of forgiveness struck me today. Coming from a multi-racial country, it’s a favourite theme for Christmas, Chinese New Year as well as Hari Raya, but it ought to be something more than just a seasonal gimmick to watch tear-jerking movies and commercials.
Forgiveness is part of putting judgment aside. When you can look at people beyond their past, you think about second chances. Perhaps it’s in our nature to be cautious, especially when someone doesn’t have a relatively good track record, but I guess if we don’t give them a chance once in awhile, we’ll never really know who they have become.
Sometimes it’s easier to say you’re sorry, than to say “It’s alright” to someone who has apologized to you. Oddly, it’s harder when that person is closer to you. I used to think that it’s more comforting to let someone know that there’s nothing to be sorry about and put the past behind. It was a little later on in life that I learned that it isn’t. When someone apologizes, he or she needs a form of affirmation that things will be okay – forgiveness is the key, and it’s cruel to deny one of it.
Couple days ago, a boyfriend of an ex-classmate of mine was murdered in a fight, and just an hour ago a friend shared with me that her close friend has passed away in an accident, leaving behind her husband and daughter. I know them, and they’re an adorable family. That’s why forgiveness shouldn’t be just a seasonal thing. We can’t be sure that we’ll make it to the next festive season so that our souls (or someone else’s) may rest in peace. Forgiveness doesn’t just come in greeting cards. It comes in that reassuring smile that everything is, and will be okay, or that hug that says you no longer mind being in the same room as him/her.
And it comes whenever possible.
A mentor once told me, unforgiveness is a form of arrogance. In my belief, the Maker has forgiven us all through something called grace. And not forgiving someone, or even ourselves is sort of saying that we’re above the Maker and we get to call the shots in forgiveness. Atheists will laugh at this statement, but you don’t have to be religious to agree that forgiveness is one of the things that help you sleep at night. Be it you who’s forgiving, or him/her who’s forgiven. And vice versa.
I hope you’ll get better sleep one of these nights. And the nights after.