The Garden: To forgive or to be forgiven

Within the past week, I have been faced with the heavy subject of forgiveness. Interestingly enough, I found myself as both the offender and the offended. While I was contemplating on how to actually forgive someone, having to deal with the actual process of letting go of every offence was quite demanding to my spirit.

I felt challenged in particular because during this phase, I was also begging to be pardoned from an offence on another matter from a different party. Which made it rather tricky for me because I could not be negotiating for mercy while in the same breath refusing to show mercy. These said issues are totally unrelated but similar in that both had an offender and offended. Another common denominator was that forgiveness was required. It made me look into the matter through a microscopic lens and so I share with you my finding on the subject of forgiveness.

The subject of forgiveness can be abstract if one has never had to truly forgive someone for an offence. It even hits home more when you are the offender this time around – when you’re the one who requires/need the forgiveness of either someone else or yourself.

One thing I have noted is that offence or rather the impact of an offence is determined by the nature of the relationship between the offender and the offended. In that, the closer you are to the offender/offended, the greater the offence and the deeper the measure of the pain.
Often times we hurt the ones we love. We hurt them either in thought, word or deed. We hurt them easily, especially because of the expectation that: people who love each other have no business hurting each other.

Now, should we for a second have a look at the nature of a human being. We must agree that human beings are not immune to committing an offence/s. We are fallible and thus we will err. We will certainly offend at some point whether intentionally or otherwise. Every now and again we will require to either forgive or be forgiven (we hope it will not be so often).

Like love and other emotions, forgiveness is not merely a feeling, it is a decisive act. And that makes it most difficult because you may require to make the decision without really being up to it or feeling like it. Again, like most emotions, forgiveness does submit to our choice. You will find that once a decision has been made, that is when the actual process is activated/officiated, that is when you actually begin to forgive.

Forgiveness is not an event, but rather a process, almost a lifestyle I’d say. You will continually need to forgive until you are completely free and rid of the offence. I think by now we have established the fact that forgiveness is not easy. However, the present argument still remains: to forgive or to be forgiven? Which is the hardest? Is the offender at the mercy of the offended? Does forgiveness benefit the offender over the offended?

My take is that forgiveness is necessary for both the offender and the offended. Firstly, to free both parties from the offence and ultimately the pain. To a certain extent, to restore the relationship between the offender and the offended. I must also put it to you that forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation. The offended has the liberty to choose whether or not to reconcile relations with the offender and deciding not to reconcile does not mean the absence of forgiveness. For instance, I can forgive you for an offence and free you and most importantly free myself from you going forth. It is either to protect myself or avoid future hurts from you in particular, especially if you are a serial offender. It really depends on the offended this time around.

You don’t want to be in the habit of unforgiveness because the unwillingness to tolerate the imperfections of others will automatically alienate us.

We live in a world that consists and operates on relationships – be it family relations, professional relations, romantic relations and the likes. Relationships are a part of us and for as long as we differ in character, personality and traits, offending each other is inevitable. No wonder we ought to make forgiveness an art. It needs to become a part of us because we will require it every now and again to move along and enjoy lasting relationships with one another.

By Lerato Charlotte Letsoso/GhOne TV | Email:

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