By Norma Singley
Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Sometimes it comes easy, but most of the time it is difficult. It is a double blessing when it happens. The giver is relieved of the burden of resentment and the receiver is redeemed. Forgiveness is life-changing for both. I believe that some self-esteem is essential to being able to forgive. True forgiveness requires release of resentment over whatever created the issue, be it between two people or a whole group of society. The position of being the offended is diminished. Receiving forgiveness also requires a level of self-realization. Realization that offenses were committed-be they small or large- and the offended are willing to renew the relationship once enjoyed. This sounds easy and simple, but it is not and usually takes time and tears. Perhaps forgiveness has to begin in small acts that we do every day in interaction with others. Then we have some experience in forgiving and being forgiven to fall back on if we ever are confronted with a serious situation.
For an illustration I keep coming back to a recent conversation with a long-time neighbor, who is now approaching middle-age. He related how he, at the age of about six of seven, and his two older brothers had regularly raided my Dad’s large melon patch. Their father heard their bragging and marched them down at the end of a switch to confess their wrong-doing to my Dad. As a youngster of a tender age, my neighbor said he didn’t know which to be the most afraid of – his own father or my father. As they told my Dad of their wrong-doing, the tears flowed down their cheeks. He said my Dad looked pretty stern and was quiet for quite a while and then asked the three of them if they had a wheel barrow. Well, yes they had one at their house. My dad then told them to go get it and fill it with as many melons as they wanted. The boys could not believe their ears. They were used to corporal punishment and this was something totally unbelievable. My neighbor’s voice broke as he then said he always remembered that act of kindness, which was forgiveness. The story is simple and the situation was not complicated or of long duration, but the result of the forgiveness lasted a life time. We never know what will be the result of being forgiven. But that’s not all the story. I had heard about that event from my Dad. He said the look on the faces of those three boys was worth a whole field of watermelons. And then he would say he was only passing on the blessing of forgiveness that had been shown to him as a boy.
Forgiveness is a sweet thing for the giver and the receiver.