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To forgive is divine

- Joseph Uysetuan () - January 14, 2007 - 12:00am
VENGEANCE is not our business but forgiveness is. So leave the avenging to God and let's try not to be stubborn with forgiving. A look in the mirror tells us that we are actually in no state to forgive those who trespass against us. Saints even forgive and we are nothing more than sinners. It is amusing why we are not accomplishing it, to think it is a wonderful commitment. Just imagine this blessing, to forgive is divine. That is merit, a plus value. Please don't say Shakespeare was inventing that. He was just copying the thought from a line in the Lord's Prayer.

One of the hardest emotions we are confronted with is our unwillingness to forgive. It seems that we just don't have the heart to let go when forgiveness is asked of us. When a wrongdoing is committed against us, we usually don't shut our eyes to it, but instead give the erring party a hard time making an apology. We don't have ears for his excuse. On the other hand, when we are the culprit making the mistake, we usually love to say "to err is human," hoping the offended party will follow suit with "to forgive is divine." We think it is a good escape from responsibility.

Sometimes we stand pat not to beg for forgiveness even when we did wrong. We are just stuck with our foolish pride. We stick to it without compunction, nonchalant, unreceptive. It's so hard just to extend for a simple handshake. Sometimes we are dead set on not accepting an apology that is forgivable; at times, treating it as an over-my-dead-body matter. A person with a stony heart will never give way, no matter how long we kneel before him. His stare is blank; his face deadpan.

It needs all the properties of goodness and virtues to enable us to know how to forget and forgive. We must nurture feelings and emotions that are genuine and correct to be able to handle our heart well. Without these properties, forgiveness will never work. We must not let the mighty claws of the bad, the wicked and the wrong hold on. The consequence is that our heart will helplessly shift gear and become misplaced, misguided, misbehaving.

What befalls us when our actions and thoughts go amiss is that we will get pretty messed up, bemired with bad attributes. Our heart will turn ugly. It will become insensitive, intolerant and unamiable. A cold heart is never concerned. A greedy heart gives no share. There is no pitying, no minding, no chipping in. With this kind of attitude, how can we bring ourselves to grant pardon, to give a chance to others? Instead of bringing mending, we are sowing pains. In doing so, we lose the divinity to forgive.

To fix the mess, we have to comprehend that forgiveness must be tempered with magnanimity, forbearance, compassion. This way, it will not be difficult for us to give or to seek forgiveness. All we have to do is excuse those who do bad, make bloopers, violate the book. We can readily condone the offenses and misdeeds done to us. We can be conciliatory to hard feelings and differences. We can do away with disputes and bad blood, by burying the hatchet.

Since heaven itself preaches and practices the virtue of forgiveness, we mortals should all the more do our part. This virtue is not only in a person's heart, it is also found in the rule of law. A birthday-celebrating president of a nation is mandated to grant executive clemency to convicts. Revenue commissioners have authority to give tax amnesty to businessmen as long as they cough up required figures for the government coffers. This is to wipe their slate clean of tax evasion.

The nuances of forgiveness is also reflected in forgetting, sparing, letting go, etc. It's not only about forgiving mistakes but also debts. Sometimes a nation writes off the debts of another. Sometimes, war debts - not money consideration, but injustice and crimes - are put into oblivion as time passes on. Sometimes, unscrupulous individuals get away with their bad intents because of immunity.

Religion, for its part, imparts to us a lot of moral instructions on forgiveness. When a believer atones inside a confession box, there is hope his sins will be blotted out or lessened. We are told just to admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and then our heart will be cleansed. When somebody wrong us, we are taught to turn the other cheek and not hold a grudge or think of getting back. We are encouraged just to go till the fields of hatred and bitterness with the plow of forgiveness.

Remember, heaven will always see to it that forgiveness will be available for us anytime. Blessed are those who will take to this for they shall discover that to forgive is, indeed, divine. Even as I search for beautiful words on forgiveness to close this article, I still find this old adage the best and the most elegant - let bygones be bygones.

BAD DON FORGIVE FORGIVENESS GIVE HEART SOMETIMES
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