We’ve all heard about how important it is to forgive. OK, maybe not everybody. For some people, it’s like a marriage between a mantra and a horrifically broken gramophone record – you must forgive, you must forgive.
While I’m not suggesting that people go on revenge missions, I am wondering where the wisdom is, in putting yourself up for more abuse, because you’re trying to, or feel compelled to prove that you’ve forgiven.
And that’s really crucial. The way some people will hurt you, then claim, “I said you ‘sorry’, you must forgive me. Here’s how you need to prove that you have forgiven me.” Usually, they want you to leave yourself vulnerable to more abuse.
An unrepentant philanderer who’s gifted his wife with STIs wants her to prove forgiveness, by taking him back.
An abuser wants to continue unabated, so they tell their abused spouse, “You must forgive me, because marriage is for better, for worse, and you’re meant to be a good Christian.”
I always say – once could have been an accident, twice is a habit, thrice is character. But even with supposed accidents (once), you don’t need to subject yourself to more. All it takes for your life to change or end – is one STI, one stab, one gunshot, one bankruptcy. The reason that some people continue to get hurt – is because they never learn.
Who in their right minds, catches their employee stealing petty cash and elevates them to Chief Financial Officer of their entire organisation, to prove “I can forgive”?
Would you give your precious, beautiful child to a paedophile, to babysit – because you want to ‘prove’ how well and quickly you’re able to forgive?
Do you really enjoy the humiliation of a life-changing STI so much, that you crave a repeat?
While you can forgive, forgetting is something you can only pretend to do when you hate yourself. Someone cleans out your account, you don’t act like you weren’t aware it happened – because your religious leader (who wasn’t there, when the bailiffs and police came for you) preached a sermon that got you hyped. You don’t forget and make that person with a gambling problem, a signatory to your new account, after you’ve worked through bankruptcy and re-jigged your credit rating.
When you offend somebody, it is common decency to apologise. To ask them for forgiveness and hope they are interested in continuing the relationship. But you don’t get to demand that they act like they’ve got amnesia; that they modify their behaviour, to suit you.
Forgiving is not forgetting.
It never was; it will never be.
All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani