Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Mightiest Sword

Being the bigger person and turning the other cheek are ideologies that are easier said than done. Surely the respect that goes with it stems from Robert Frost's popular line about taking the road less traveled by. It is no big secret that forgiving others is truly a divine and supernhuman thing to do given the mere difficulty in bringing ourselves to do it. Vengeance and redemption seem to be more satisfactory and fulfilling alternatives at the height of passion in most cases.

In order for forgiveness to actually take place, at least one party must be able to understand the concept of letting go. This is made more arduous if stronger emotions get in the way -- such as love, respect, anger and hatred. These are usually coupled by pride and self-preservation. It truly does take a big person to take the high road. The ability to forgive is reserved for those people who possess qualities which show a certain degree of intelligence and maturity. If forgiveness is something excessively easy to part with, Lucifer will probably not have half as many of his crew down there in Abaddon.

However, there is more to forgiveness than meets the eye. Forgiveness doesn't end in forgiving the person who carried out the sin or fault. It requires far more than that which is even harder to do -- forgetting. Forgiveness is completely executed if we agree to forget that the fault was carried out at all, and if we give that person who wronged us a clean slate. Achieving that would perhaps be more divine than it is superhuman.

Being raised in a predominantly Catholic society, I was given a pretty good run down on the stories of Jesus and his lessons of forgiveness. Somehow, it sounds so much simpler on text than it is applied in real life. Admittedly, I have forgiven numerous people in my life -- and that, I'm very proud of. However, I would have to confess that my relationships with most, if not all, of those people have changed. Either the frequence of my correspondence with them have dramatically been reduced or been cut off painstakingly. I dare not forget any wrongdoings slapped against me. Sure, I have never resorted to violence or low-level compromises against anyone who have wronged me. I have learned to let go and accept consequences -- but I have never forgotten. Ever. Perhaps I'm not as big a person as I'd like to think I am.

I am generally a very trusting person, perhaps even to a fault, despite my attested cynicsm towards people. Everyone that I meet is given a perfect score and as I get to know him or her, the scores change. Every fault or negative aspect would render a demerit. And usually, that demerit is permanent and nothing could ever make up for it.

I know many people, but I don't have a lot of friends. Those few that I regard as friends have already gone through the test of time and its difficulties. However, I will have no remorse cutting anyone off if he or she has seriously done something to damage the friendship. I will probably forgive him or her for doing it, but I probably will never forget that it happened for as long as I live. In essence, as a defense mechanism and as a guard to keep it from happening again, I will consciously allow the relationship to dwindle and eventually die a natural death. Again, I leave it up to time to heal all wounds and perhaps, if happenstance agrees with us, the friendship might again get resuscitated.

I'd like to believe that I'm a very fair person and that I give everyone a fair chance to kindle friendship with me. I'm genuine in saying that anyone can be my friend as long as sincerity is present. However, most people just get a maximum of two chances with me -- depending on the degree of the first sin. I can forgive for the first time, but rarely the second time. And neither times do I ever forget.

I am only human. Being divine and superhuman requires greatness -- and it may take a while before I get there. Maybe even never. I'm still working on it though and I'll keep at it. For now, I'm still trying to muster up taking the road less traveled by because I know, I know deep inside me, that it will make all the difference.

46 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

I can forgive or understand, but I never forget. Sadly sometimes even decades old friendships can go wrong.

4:18 PM  
Blogger thisisme said...

I'm not so good on the forgetting thing either. Even when forgiven, it is still in the background, festering away. Hurt me once, shame on you, hurt me twice, shame on me.

4:43 PM  
Blogger UBERMOUTH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:11 PM  
Blogger UBERMOUTH said...

Foolme once,shame on you- fool me twice- shame on me!
I have had the amephilosophy as you Princess,in terms of 100% trust to start with.I still assume most people are decent until they prove to me they are not..........but I now look for the signs instead of waiting to be blind sided. Then I turn the other cheek and walk away FAST.Hostility is not something to hang onto,and revenge is a waste of time.
One should not forget or we woudl be idiots,but one can forgive ..from a long way away.

7:16 PM  
Blogger self taught artist said...

It makes perfect sense to me...I think that any reduction in the level of friendship that coincides with having had to forgive them doesn't mean anything less on your part. I think you can forgive someone but not want to have much if anything to do with them after that. We learn as time goes by how people are and a healthy person realizes it might be time to let that relationship go.
There could be many people in ones life that are no longer a part of their lives yet still aren't forgiven. This was, as always, an excellent thoughtful post.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

What an interestin' post, Sugar Pie.... forgivin' is REAL hard work, most times...but on the forgettin' part--why I ain't real surewe should assume that forgivin' automatically means we need ter restore the status quo--ya'know?

Fer example, iffin' ya had an employee who cooked the books and stole thousands from your little business, you oughta forgive them--but ya' ain't required to give their job back to them --see how I mean it? Ya' can forgive--yep, an' ya should--but that don't require that ya' restore them to their former position of trust.

I sure enjoyed yore posts on Hong Kong and Singapore.

9:38 PM  
Blogger yinyang said...

I could have written this post (except not as well). Aunty Belle does have a point, though - maybe remembering isn't a bad thing.

9:47 PM  
Blogger thirtysomething said...

Yes, forgiveness coupled with forgetting is most difficult and I suppose this means that when we truly forgive AND forget, we leave the ego part of ourselves behind. It doesn't like that at all since it controls much of what we do and say each day.
I too am struggling with traveling the road less traveled, we shall share stories of our 'adventure'!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Loquacious said...

I once heard the definition of forgiveness as this: "to choose to live with the consequences of another person's sin." That is, to forgive is to make a choice to bear the scars that resulted from someone else's hurtfulness, and to no longer hold that wrongdoer responsible to oneself for their actions. It is to surrender that judgment to God.

I kind of like that perspective, and in my own life it has helped me to free myself from being tied to those who have hurt me. It has allowed me to move on and to enjoy my life, yet savour in the reassurance that one day judgment will come for those who have done me wrong. :)

10:37 PM  
Blogger paddy said...

Great post. It's a difficuly one to call. I personally have a problem with forgiveness especially when that person does not ask for it...you've got to ask for it sincerely in every case. I can't and will not forgive anyone who has wronged me.
I am though at heart a forgiving person.
A very thought provoking post.

"And they ask what hate is
It's just the other side of love
Some people want to give their enemies
Everything they think that they deserve
Some say why don't you love your neighbours
Go ahead, turn the other cheek
But have you ever met anybody who's ever been the meek
And it's so cruel to expect the saviour to save the day
And there's no religion, no religion, no religion here today"
Van Morrison.
Y;-) Paddy

11:20 PM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

Good Heavens!

You're a clone! :o


All I can say is that the road less travelled is probably going to be more fulfilling at the end of it. At least, that is what I hope (and perhaps you do too).

Of course, everybody makes mistakes. However, some mistakes make you wonder whether certain things you have experienced were real. I know that this sounds a bit ambiguous, but still, it's something I've found to be true during my short existence.

Moreover, forgetting certain incidents can be impossible. All one can probably do is forget the pain they caused and move on.

Amazing stuff!

11:34 PM  
Blogger Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Quite a noble aspiration, Princess.

I've had to forgive monstrous deeds by those who could not be closer to me - I harbor no ill will or hatred for them, but like you... I have effectively removed them from my life.

To prevent further harm.

Forgiving does mean wiping the slate clean, but in doing so, we cannot leave ourselves in the same dangerous situation or circumstance to be hurt again by the same people.

We are designed to learn and grow.

We learn and go on. Forgiveness does not give the benefit of a license of blind trust to those who would use it to our detriment a second or third time.
Forgiveness frees both parties, and we... who are strong enough to have learned and grown from circumstance, depart the situation for the sake of safety and peace.

Excellent post again.
You seem to tackle so many large issues with grace and intelligence.

Thank you.

I just handed out the Thoughtful Blogger Award to everyone on my blogroll and you were supposed to be on it.
It doesn't look like you go for this kind of thing, but if you would like it for your page, please come by and pick it up. It is yours with good reason and a big hug.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

12:24 AM  
Blogger Vik said...

Oh I never forget either. It is like the writing on the wall. But some things we generally have to forget and collect ourselves to move forward , that is the only way out. But I concur with what you said. Perfectly!

12:49 AM  
Blogger wildflower said...

i understand the forgiving & forgetting funda, but what if the person you forgive & forget, commits the same mistake again & again, with other people? is forgiving worth all that? dos it lead to anything good? it becomes a mere excuse for our lack of will power in punishing the wrong doer...

forgive me & forget it if you think i have said something too offensive :P

1:46 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

great post!!

the hard thing is you can say i forgive you, but forgetting..NEVER!! i can't, anyway!!

1:46 AM  
Blogger butterflygirl said...

I learned to forgive when going through my divorce...it just wasn't healthy to harbor all those negative feelings.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Still searching said...

I totally relate to this post, and your nature of forgiving but never forgetting, in which case things turn out to be sometimes just as bad... But I'm thinking something else these days... I'm thinking, actually I dont want to even forgive people anymore... coz they take you for granted after that, and run all over you thinking nothing has happened.. perhaps this happens only with me coz I become very normal with them, as if nothing had happened... and this causes them to think they can get away with anything.. so these days, my thinking has changed a bit and I think that forgiving someone (except family members) is under-cutting yourself.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Ninja Of The Mundane said...

"I will consciously allow the relationship to dwindle and eventually die a natural death."

I agree with everything you said except this, Princess Banter. To me, this is a very UNNATURAL death. And it conveniently lets you off the hook for the cathartic, confrontational conversation you're better off having.

I'd be interested to know what events inspired this post. I think bloggers should tell more anecdotes and deal less in the abstract.

But otherwise, good hors d'oeuvres for thought.

2:52 AM  
Blogger foam said...

maybe it's due to my age..
but some things i've actually forgiven and forgotten..
but apparently the persons i forgave kept their 'misdeed' with them for much longer than i did. i know this since years later they brought it up and i had no memory of it...
who knew that inadvertently revenge was mine after all (not that i ever wanted any). they carried the guilt with them..and i didn't even remember. i thought it was funny.

but you are right...mostly i never forget although i forgive.

3:27 AM  
Anonymous maverick said...

i dont think forgetting is as easy as forgiving. U might forgive (or say u forgived) a person but then the equation doesn't remain the same at all. for myself i include forgetting in forgiving. If i have awkward feelings to tht person, I never forgived himed 100 %.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Yoda said...

Pretty interesting post! Just this afternoon I was talking to my mom about this topic. I do not think that forgetting and forgiveness are linked though. You could forgive the person, but to forget that a trespass occurred against you, would be a disservice to yourself! Of course, different situations warrant different reactions ... like a person who accidentally spilled beer on you while dancing next to you in a club may be forgiven and allowed to dance near you. But a friend who gossiped about you, may not be called a friend at all from then on. Though, you could forgive that trespass on your privacy, you should not let that person become a friend any more!

Anyways, that's what I believe. I don't think its a 'perfect' ideology, but definitely a very reasonable one!

5:11 AM  
Blogger nel said...

lol ... take it easy gal ... tat's life like in any song ... you said before,"You gotta roll with the punches" ... bring it on ... have a great day ahead ... heh, heh ... ;)

10:17 AM  
Blogger Keshi said...

I can forgive easily but I cant forget...it's so hard for me to forget someone's words..

Keshi.

11:22 AM  
Blogger thethinker said...

I'm like you. I might forgive, but forgetting is completely different. I don't think anyone truly forgets the wrongs done to them. They may claim to forgive and forget, but there are always subtle reminders of the things that have been done to us in the past. We never truly let go.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Aditi said...

i think forgiving for me is directly proportional to not only how much they wronged me but how much i had trusted them prior to that...
sometimes forgiving can be the hardest thing because u have to let go of all that anger and its not easy..
Even if i forgive its not possible for me to rebuild the relationship...like they say the cracks still show..

But its ok cuz to me i am human and that is aight too

2:18 PM  
Blogger Jeya Anand said...

Forgiving is truly divine!!and I aint a saint...so I let go when the limit is no more...Evrything has got a limit beyond which...theres nothing!!

Truly enlightening post!!

2:26 PM  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Hmmm, this is a topic I've read widely on, but I still find it very difficult to let go of the hurt and forgive. I'm not giving up though.

Puss

5:25 PM  
Blogger Jac said...

I am also a catholic.

I read your words carefully and would like to tell you that when you forgive someone for the first time for a fault, (that is how you are able to know about the second time) means that you have already given a cheek to him/her to slap and that you are offering him the other cheek, by which you will finally decide on the person to forgive or not.

You are not a bad person, banter. My admirations of the highest esteem!!!

Does my logic make sense to you princess?

10:48 PM  
Blogger Glamorous Redneck said...

Forgiveness is a really hard thing. But that true, pure, full forgiveness (the kind that has to be given and accepted by both parties) is like no other feeling in the world. I've had it happen once, and it'll probably never happen again, but it saved my marriage and gave me a little glimpse of that divine forgiveness. And that's a feeling I'll carry forever.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Behind Blue Eyes said...

I'm skeptical about the standard definitions of forgiveness. First of all, I don't think it is humanly possible to choose what you will and won't forget.

Secondly, sometimes when someone does something to you, it may change your opinion about them. For instance, I had a friend once who did some things that made me realize that she was a very selfish person. I think that I still liked her and I think I even forgave her, but I then knew that she was selfish so it changed how I thought of her and how I dealt with her.

Also, I think that forgivness is an action. I don't think that people necessarily have control over their emotions but they do have control over their actions. When I am still smarting from something, I am very vengeful, but I don't carry out my plans. And if that person were to have a problem, I might very well help them. Well, as I said, I don't buy into societies definition of forgiveness as it involves the thought that you have only forgiven if you have no angry feelings anymore. That is unrealistic. So don't be hard on yourself for how you feel.

12:15 AM  
Blogger The Exception said...

Trust is something I give in degrees - time and closeness earn different degrees of trust. I don't think about doing this, I just do it as a natural part of my personality. That said, when someone close to be hurts me, it is very difficult for me to let go. I can forgive, I can still be friends, but I can not give them the same trust that I did previously.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Faithful 2 U said...

Thanks for the comment. Interesting blog you have. Still reading!

5:44 AM  
Blogger Nithya N said...

yeah,forgetting is the most difficlut thing i've ever come across. some people just move on and i always used to wonder HOW THE HELL!! but life has itsown way of dealing with everyone. the relief you feel once you've decided to be soft on someone and forgive them!!! it's a pleasure.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Princess Pointful said...

I actually gave a lot of thought to this lately (and wrote a bit about it). I'm beginning to realize, at least for me, that forgiving isn't necessarily 100% forgetting- it's not about making you vulnerable again- but rather about understanding.

2:03 PM  
Blogger mathew said...

mm..so true..
i had a similar introspection jaunt sometime back..

http://wetspark.blogspot.com/2006/11/forgive-me.html

6:53 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

The first step to forgiveness is to forgive yourself for harboring the ill will the actions of another caused within your own soul, the second step is to forgive the offender.

There is no limit on how many times a person can and should be forgiven. Twice? Twice time twice? Makes no difference if you do not do the first thing first, forgive yourself; for this is where the forgetting begins and with the three things combined is when the healing takes place, if healing is the desired outcome...unless of course you mean all of this in just a material sense.

For if that is the case why forgive at all, go to war, take what was taken from you back and slay your enemies. Let humans be human and the spiritual of the world be spiritual, there is no great necessity to meld the two PB.

Peace

TWM

8:32 PM  
Blogger samrina said...

I always forget, dnt know whether it is good or bad...

Hope you're fine there.

Take care

2:59 AM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Princess, it is necessary to be able to forgive, yes, only when you have the power to strike down and cause harm. Otherwise it is a fool's paradise, a coward's excuse not to retaliate. Only when I have the power to cause harm with I have enough worth to forgive.

5:12 AM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

Could someone elaborate what Sudipta's comment (directly above) means. It sounds profound ...

Re. your entry, Princess Banter, if you are cutting people off after they have wronged you and you have forgiven them, how is that forgiveness? I'm not questioning that ... I basically do the same thing. But it seems to give foregiveness a curious new meaning.

5:56 AM  
Blogger CM-Chap said...

I am only human.. That sums up everything isnt it....

6:30 AM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Arcturas...if you are not sure of the outcome of retaliation (Victory) then a fool forgives and it becomes a sign of weakness, but if you know that you can destroy your enemy then it is benevolent to forgive and shows their weakness.

7:12 PM  
Blogger soul&body said...

I think when we forgive we will never forget things! I use to forgive, I cant stay too much time without talk with a person...but sure it depends of the things...

11:09 PM  
Blogger William said...

Letting go is always hard. I normally just keep things under the carpet. Out of sight, out of mind. But as you say, it's still there.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Living On Video said...

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6:20 PM  
Blogger fifi said...

hey, thinking princess I am giving you an award .
details at mine.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Miss Smack said...

I can take so much, in fact, quite a lot, but once someone has crossed that line, there is no going back.

Whilst I do like the quote that Mrs Loquacious included with her comment "to choose to live with the consequences of another person's sin,' I don't believe i carry that baggage of another person. If anything it makes me more aware of the next person.

9:51 PM  

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