… can be very hard but if we don’t we are the ones that suffer. Take a moment to think about a time when someone did something that upset you and you haven’t forgiven them. How does it feel? You see the think is if you are holding onto that resentment it hurts you, not them. Forgiving is not the same as forgetting or condoning someone’s actions. Rather it is recognising that they probably didn’t upset you intentionally and they are suffering too. Even if they did mean to hurt you it is because of their conditioning and chances are someone has hurt them.
I remember several years ago seeing one of the mothers of the children who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – the moors murderers – in the 1960s on the news. This was over 30 years later she was still wanting revenge. I know what happened is probably the worst thing that can happen to a parent but she was the only one who was suffering.
Around the same time there was a bomb in Northern Ireland and amongst those who were killed was a 3 year old boy. His father, who had lost his only son, was being interviewed on the news. The interviewer asked him if he wanted to get back at the IRA for what they had done. His reply was, ‘No, because two wrongs don’t make a right.’ You see he knew that holding onto hate would only make him suffer even more than he was already.
I know I sometimes set high standards for myself that I fail to reach so I have to learn to forgive myself. I look to the example of the Dalai Lama and his attitude towards the Chinese. It is possible but if we still find it too hard to forgive others we can start by forgiving ourselves…