“To err is human. To forgive, divine.” Alexander Pope
Lately, the topic of forgiveness has been “trending” in my life; from former teachers posting the topic as a status to my son asking why I “friended” people who have hurt me in the past. Season 4 of RHONJ has basically had one theme: Should Caroline Manzo forgive Teresa Guidice for insulting her and her son, Christopher, in her cookbook?
What exactly is forgiveness?
Per Dictionary.com, forgive means to cease to feel resentment against. “To forgive one’s enemies”. Sadly, I had to look up “resentment” as well. Because I wanted to make sure I knew what that word meant. Displeasure or Discomfort. Hmmm…good words. How about pissed off? Does that work? So basically in my world, being able to forgive someone that treated me like less than zero means not allowing myself to hold a grudge.
“Who me? Hold a grudge?”, I said. “No! Not me!”
After thinking about it for awhile, I realized he was right. I do hold grudges. And boy, can I hold them. For 30 years or more. I’m not sure holding a grudge is quite the right term. But, I do have serious trust issues. If I was to “forgive” and let go of that “displeasure or discomfort” created when someone hurt me, would I be able to get past those trust issues?
Can people really ‘forgive and forget’?
I don’t think I ever have forgotten when someone hurt me. I’m sure most people don’t. Even if I don’t remember the details, sometimes I think the hurt is so ingrained, that my subconscious kicks and says, “Hey, remember you were in a situation like this before and it ended badly”. It might even be helpful to remember those occasions when you were hurt, so you don’t repeat them. And once you’ve decided to forgive someone for past hurts, it’s important to not keep bringing it up in a conversation and dwelling on it. I don’t think that’s physically possible for some people I know. I try. When I fail, Charlie will tell me to quit beating him with it.
Is forgiveness possible for people who aren’t Christian?
Forgiveness was always a big topic at church and usually seemed to focus on God’s forgiveness. Or a Bible passage as to why I need to forgive others. I no longer believe in God, Jesus or Christianity. Why would I care what the church says about forgiveness? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. I don’t really need an answer to it.) Fortunately, there are people at the Mayo Clinic who are much smarter than I am and came up with this nifty article about the importance of forgiveness without quoting one single Bible verse! It’s called “Forgiveness: Letting go of Grudges and Bitterness“. Go read it. Now. It’s good.
“These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly.”
What do you do when someone won’t forgive you?
What do you do? Just move on as if nothing happened? On RHONJ, Caroline was very upset that Teresa’s apologies did not seem to be genuine and refused to accept her apology. However, if Teresa hadn’t kept pushing the issue, Caroline may have been allowed to continue with her “let sleeping dogs lie” attitude. They were never best friends and could have politely continued to socialize with each other’s family. Now, they can’t stand each other. Maybe the best thing you can do is hear the other person out, say you’re sorry and leave it alone. If they don’t accept, there isn’t much you can do. Charlie would say you’re beating a dead horse.
Well, that’s my thoughts for today. What do you think?