Should We Forgive Those Who Hurt Us?

The question of whether we should forgive those who hurt us has been asked since the beginning of time. The answer to this question hasn’t been straight forward as well since then.

But what is forgiveness in the first place? Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. It is the act of letting go of grudges and bitterness. I can safely also add that Forgiveness is the act of renouncing resentment, indignation or anger as a result of something you think was done wrong to you and to cease from demanding punishment or restitution for such an act. But let’s refocus on the subject of this article…

Should We Forgive Those Who Hurt Us?

There are several schools of thought. Some believe in total forgiveness….that is forgiving someone no matter what. Another school of thought believes that forgiveness should be measured. For example, that you should only forgive if the ‘hurt’ was minor…in another sense, if what was done to you wasn’t that major and did not cause everlasting pain, damage or change anything in your Lovers Empire advertlife negatively.

Yet another school of thought believes in total revenge…no forgiveness at all. Their belief originates from the doctrine of “an eye for an eye”. There is yet an interesting school of thought and one that many of us consciously or unconsciously live by. Many of us believe that we should only forgive or even consider forgiving only if and when the person who hurts us apologizes or asks for forgiveness.

According to this writer and many others, the issue of whether we should forgive people who hurt us is in most cases based on individual judgment and decisions. People have different stories and experiences and as such react or make judgments differently. Different religions teach lessons in relation to forgiveness and at times these lessons guide followers of those religions on exactly how to approach this sensitive subject.

The great Mahatma Gandhi (former Indian Prime Minister, Philosopher and statesman-1869-1948) once said… “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” This is a very philosophical quotation if you think hard about it. In simple terms, it is easy to be angry and easier to hate and complain, but according to Mahatma Gandhi, only the strong minds can look beyond what has happened and forgive. Mahatma Gandhi also said…“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever”. Of course this will always make sense to some people especially those who believe in some God while as usual; many others will regard these sayings as unrealistic.africdating ad

The argument to forgive over the years has been made by many. At the same time, there are yet millions of people and even religions that preach revenge (an eye for an eye). Catherine Ponder (one of the World’s Leading Prosperity Writers) is quoted as saying that…“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Another person who believes in forgiveness is a certain Robert Muller who once said…“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”

As an author and Journalist, my second most cherished quotation about forgiveness, after that of Mahatma Gandhi is that of Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900). Oscar Wilde once said… “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”

The question we should be asking ourselves is why were most of the great philosophers and thinkers of the past preaching or talking about forgiveness. Remember that they were not “Men of God” at that time. Even Sir Francis Bacon (the renowned English philosopher and statesman, and pioneer of modern scientific thought) added his voice to the subject of forgiveness by saying…”A man that studies revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well”. He adds that…”In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior”.

For Christians for example, the position of Jesus Christ on this subject is very clear…”Forgive your enemies 70 times 7” (Matthew 18:21-22). There is no doubt as to how Christians are required to approach this subject. I guess, the lesson we should conclude with comes from the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (Prominent American Civil Rights leader) who said…”That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing”.