A friend SMSed me and asked what I meant about forgiveness, after having read my blog on meeting up with old friends (Old Pal, Aug 16; St.Marians 89, June 1). So these are some thoughts on forgiveness:
Forgiveness is when you can look at the person in the eye and still be glad to be in his/her presence regardless of what had happened in the past, i.e. disputes, misunderstandings, episodes of jealousy/envy on both sides or unfairness towards you. All those bad stuff that happened was in a context of time and space that we had no control over. The world is actually bigger than we see it: a spiritual dimension, six degree of separation, cosmic powers, etc.
Forgiveness is when you are still sad/sore over an incident between you and a friend but you choose to be kind and love and help the person and still call him/her you friend. You act or treat the person with love because you know/see that he/she is worth more than one hurtful incident in your friendship. He/she is precious.
Forgiveness is when you still care and wish the best for the person who has hurt you many times over and over because he/she has problem with self-control. They cannot help but let their mean streak take a hit at the people around them, and because of their personality they may not feel sorry or be sorry for just a moment and forget it. You on the receiving end will bear the wounds for a long long time...but you still remember the person's strengths and the good times that you shared.
Forgiveness is being happy for the success of your friend today, appreciating the competitions there were yesterday, and hoping to see him/her again tomorrow.
Forgiveness is when you can talk about how silly and childish we all were 10-20 years ago and know that we are all better and more mature today. It is not belittling the other person or the issues that may have caused conflicts, but it is to acknowledge that we all now see the world differently and we are no longer self-centered babies. We recognise how we can all make the world we live in a better place with our different gifts, contributions and ideas.
Forgiveness is when you make the effort to give the friendship a second chance...and yet another.
Forgiveness is when you can say in retrospect (we all know this phrase) : it takes 2 hands to clap. You acknowledge that you too had been part of the problem and not just blame the other person. We see a bigger picture of how we could have helped or defused a heated situation but did not or maybe did not know how then.
While writing this, I was thinking of a few old friends who had really hurt me or made me feel used, cheated or treated me without respect. And I wonder how are they doing now, and if they are happy where they are. I hope they are well.
But I also remember of friends that I had been unkind to because in the past I had been a more rigid and self-righteous person.
I had said things I still regret until today;
I had responded insensitively or inappropriately because I was afraid/defensive/big-headed;
I had thought less of the other person because of his/her different values/ideas;
I was unconsciously/subconsciously taking advantage of my friends' generosity and trust;
I was a wet blanket to some, tolerated non of their "nonsense";
I thought the world revolved around me.
I hope I am forgiven by those I have hurt.
p/s - 2 phrases that was said to me and had helped set me free from my sense of guilt were:
"All the "what if's" do not count"
(Mike FW Kong), and
"We are all responsible for our own actions"