‘To err is human but to forgive is divine’ – I bet we’ve all heard variations of this statement at one point or the other in our lives. But how easy is it to implement you may ask? After all, the taste of the pudding is in the eating not the looks of it in’it?
There really is no easy way around it because when the heart is hurt, like a wounded tiger, it only wants to inflict pain back to the source of the hurt. After all ‘do me I do you, God no go vex’ abi. You may be justified in revenge but to what end?
Bear in mind that the issue of forgiveness generally comes in for dealings with persons who are close to our hearts ‘cos it’s s/he who is close, who we have come to expect so much from that can hurt us. Hurt in this sense being different from plain old anger at a display of ‘stupidity’ from a random acquaintance. Most times tho’, our hurt (with our close person) is mixed with anger. What a deadly combo!
I’ve come to find that a heartfelt apology from s/he who causes the hurt relieves the heart pain till it eventually disappears. Remember the thing about ‘a soft answer turning away anger’ abi?
What then if the apology is not forthcoming, would you be justified in refusing to forgive? Perhaps, but then again, ‘to what end?’ Is it worth your loss of sleep or loss of peace? I guess at such times, you then really need to put yourself in the other’s shoes to find out if the person also lashed out at some hurt you caused him/her. Communication to understand each other’s viewpoints helps. Remember, you guys are supposedly close so even if the communication lines are now jagged, they were once straight – so leverage on that. Also bear in mind, that the real bone of contention may really be about misunderstanding each other’s intents which is why sounding out each other’s viewpoints is key.
Bottom line, seek to understand first and keep your ego aside while at it. Remember this person is or was your close friend. Of course, you are within your rights to call it quits and move on because any type of friendship/relationship is really not by force. However, you should consider calling it quits only where the person makes it clear s/he is not willing to repair the relationship in spite of your honest and best efforts. Also bear in mind that the journey to recovery for one or you both may be painfully slow. That is understandable. The key point is mutuality not necessarily equality of efforts. Remember, you both are not grace mates, so forgiveness may come easier to one person than the other.
If truly, the fellow was once your homey, you have a responsibility to make an effort to mend the bridge and when there is earnest contrition on your homey’s part, let go and let God. The icing on the cake is that forgiveness also accelerates your own healing and perhaps, you both can end up better and stronger together. Now, this is another mystery of forgiveness, because to err is human but to forgive is divine.
*image credit: http://www.google.com