“No! No! A thousand times No! I am not going to forgive him. He did me wrong, that rotten *-@-M”
“Forgive her?! Are you out of your mind? Do you know what that *@&^% did to me. She needs to rot in hell!”
“Forgive myself? What kind of New Age crap is that? Do you know what I did? There is absolutely no way in this lifetime or any other that is going to happen. EVER. Do you hear me?!”
Last year I wrote a post about forgiveness. I fessed up to not forgiving easily. Still a bit weak on the subject, so I’m revisiting. I understand the concept and theory behind forgiveness. And while I stand by every word I wrote last year, standing before you is an imperfect person who still gets rankled at the idea of having to forgive another for doing her wrong.
Heard a great story on the subject recently. (Thank you “G.”) An analogy really. Apparently, back in the days of yore (as in biblical times) when a man killed another (intentionally or otherwise) the punishment was the dead body being strapped to his back. Permanently.
First came the smell. I can’t even imagine! (It was bad enough the time it took weeks to track down a decomposing rodent in my house, and a human body has a lot more flesh to decompose. *shudders*)
Following the stench, came the maggots. Those industrious little buggers didn’t differentiate between the dead corpse and the living person it was strapped to. So, the maggots burrowed into the live body as well, only he didn’t live very long after.
Aside from having an attack of the “Yuks,” *shudders,* “Gross,” and “eeewwwwwww,” the analogy made its point. Holding a grudge, hanging onto any and all wrongs done to you, clinging to resentment, anger, and/or righteous indignation, is simply like having a dead body on your back. And those maggots are going to eat you alive.
Forgiveness is a bear. No matter how many times you “hear” the words that you’re not condoning the other person’s actions (or your own misstep if you’re the one who needs forgiveness from yourself), it still feels like the other person is being given a “Get out of jail free” card. Where’s the justice? Where’s the vigilante group defending your honor? It’s not there. (Or at least it’s not apparent.) And that’s the wrinkle.
Perhaps one of the reasons so many people want to be writers is, as such, you get to play God. You’re the all-being, all-seeing, omnipresent powerful force of the universe. In your world, the one your create with your words (probably movies as well), you can ensure justice. Not so Real Life.
Real Life is dirty. Real Life is messy. Real Life is made up of a bunch of imperfect people doing the best they can (in their minds), which isn’t necessarily what you think they should be doing. And their way of doing it may offend your sensibilities. But guess what? You’ve got no say in the matter. (Sucks. So much easier when you’re the author.) Still, the idea of maggots (even of the psychic and/or illustrative variety) having an “in” into my psyche and/or well-being via any grudges I’m holding (or because I’m hanging onto an unforgiving heart), is enough of an impetus for me to jump into forgiveness mode. I’m selfish enough to want what’s good for me (and maggots aren’t anywhere on that list).
Alexander Pope’s quote intentionally modified.
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