Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.
Forgiveness must take a huge amount of mental energy to process. I see people on television who have had their children taken from them, and occasionally, when it transpires a dark deed has been committed and the perpetrator apprehended, they are publicly forgiven. My immediate reaction would be to bring fire and brimstone down upon them. If you ever watched the movie Taken, you know the one,
“I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”
That is me mentally, in the torture scene with the 6 inch nails and electricity. Oh boy, I would be one really nasty bastard if it was my child. However, that’s the emotional part of me burning like the sun and that’s too damn hot to handle. The rational part of me knows that it is a crime to do such things (where’s the nails) and that such an act is both inhuman (jump leads?) and I too would, in all probability go (just throw the power switch and walk away) to prison, which helps no one.
The reflective side of my personality understands why people forgive. You can’t hate forever with out it leaving you empty and ruined. People who do not forgive, or equally resolve their own feelings, cannot move on, and I know this because I have experienced it. I carried a hatred for someone who did their job badly when they were tasked with managing a situation with empathy and professionalism. I write that now, lacking the feelings I once carried, and that is because I forgave them. It wasn’t a letter or phone call, it was to me, in the car alone one afternoon. It need to be said and I choked on the words, and that told me it was important to do it. I stopped that day, the circular conversations in my head that consumed me, and it only took me 3 years! The odd thing was, it was as though I allowed myself to let go, to make it okay not to be offended any longer. It was me, not him, causing the problem.
I am by default someone who you can argue with at 9am and by 09.15 it’s over and forgotten. I don’t want to waste energy fighting, it solves nothing other than to clear the air and expose some long overdue truths in most cases. But you have to move on, learn from it if you can because life is too damn short.
One thing I cannot tolerate is the pseudo woodpecker. The person that continually pecks away making an annoying background noise hoping that the more they peck the further justification for forgiveness is drowned out. Maybe it will attract more woodpeckers to join in the cacophony and even a few peacocks for colour effect. I have seen this all my life and all it really does is make them more angry, less tolerant and ultimately unable to see anyone else’s perspective than their own. Everything becomes about their goal, tunnel vision liked a blinkered war horse, bit between teeth and charging forward, death or glory, and fuck those I trample.
Crusades historically often failed in their objectives. Destroying those who were able to forgive and usually leaving a trail of destruction in their wake; only to be surprised why people shied away from rallying to their flag. If the past has taught us one thing, those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and most wars started due to cultural lack of tolerance and forgiveness. Tit-for-tat, an eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth type mindset that just loops around, drawing in more people, creating a divide and damaging fundamentally good people.
Would I be more willing to forgive someone for the same act committed in my youth if repeated today? Yes I would, and I know this for two reasons. Firstly, forgiving is massive spring clean for mental health, it allows you address the issue, be comfortable with yourself for taking the stronger moral high ground; and secondly, well, I do own own 6 inch nails and jump leads so the potential is always frightening there.