These past months I’ve been contemplating about forgiving and forgiveness. Whether, I, who was done wrong should forgive; or should you who have done me wrong, ask for forgiveness.
Well, in a perfect world, both are true. I must forgive those who have asked for my forgiveness. I’m not better than God, who has forgiven those who ask it of Him. But, what I am is human. And this world is as far from perfect as I am from being a god.
“I forgive you.”
These may well be the two hardest statements to utter; as well as two of the hardest things to believe. Each party contemplating the meaning and weight of each sentence before saying it or before responding to it. Both of which require an almost superhuman level of courage and commitment. Sometimes it’s breathtakingly relieving, most times it’s like a Sisyphus and his boulder– a continuous fight of self-will and pride.
We have so much pride– and this in itself can come from an abundance of things. Pride, because you were the victim, the person who was done wrong and you expect, nay, demand an apology. A sincere one. But whether the person asking for forgiveness is sincere or not, is still all up to how much you’re willing to accept them and their apology. They may be sincere as hell but if you can’t bring down your pride to accept that something as bad as being lied to, or cheated on, or hurt, can be resolved by a simple and sincere “I’m sorry,” then check yourself.
A person can be willing to ask for forgiveness, but you might not be willing to forgive (even if you demand it).
Then there’s another kind of pride. The pride of the person who’s done wrong. It can come as a commitment to the deed or as shame. Commitment as in the Filipino sense of “paninindigan”– you’ve already done so much wrong, might as well stick to that path, right? Wrong. Then there’s shame. You are too ashamed to face what you have done and instead walk away, burdened and hopeless. But these cases are not set in stone. It is only pride because you know what you’ve done. But then, you also know what you have to do.
Everyone, sometimes unconsciously, plays the victim. “Kawawa naman ako, nasaktan ako.” But, granted, there are victims and abusers in every dynamic. Depending on your point of view, either one can play either role, roles can reverse, or for other grand and miraculous cases, there will be no roles, only what is important: acknowledgement and peace.
Acknowledgement of the wrong done. And the peace to accept that it has been done. But this is a matter of choice. You can stick up your nose and say “I didn’t do that!” or “I deserve an apology!” but these are lethal thoughts that can cause you the peace you crave.
On the other hand, you can choose to acknowledge the wrongs, accept them, and try your best to positively move beyond the pain and hurt. None of which are easy, because what’s easy is never really worth much.
Holding onto anger and pride is easy, but tiring. You have all this weight on your shoulders and nowhere to place them. But to be the better person, to choose to either forgive or to ask for forgiveness, that’s a serene kind of strength.
Who forgives or who asks for forgiveness really doesn’t matter. If no one is doing the right thing, then you do it. Don’t expect forgiveness, don’t expect to be forgiven. But strive to be to be the better person, whether that means forgiving even without being asked forgiveness; or asking for forgiveness without being forgiven.
Keep in mind that not everyone who says they forgive, actually forgive; not all who ask for forgiveness are sincere. Similarly, not all who seek forgiveness, are brave enough to ask for it; and not all who demand it, seek for it in peace.
It’s a thin line and at some point in our lives, we have to face this line. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to make our own choices. Choose to forgive without being asked; choose to ask forgiveness without being forgiven; choose weight or choose peace. I guess that’s the hard part about being human. There’s always a choice, but you never really know which is the right one. But then, you always have to try. Right?