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Forgieveness Essay

2069 words - 9 pages

Recently I found myself thinking about what would happen if as an adult I encountered my father who left us when I was a kid. I was wondering if I would be able to forgive him for abandoning his own family with not enough resources to survive. I would like to think I would because I acknowledged and overcame what had happened to my family and chose to move forward without dwelling in hatred and anger. I forgave, but I did not forget. According to Lewis B. Smedes, a Christian author, ethicist, and theologian, “Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future” (qtd. in Goodreads inc 3). In other words, “the bitter past” that we remember as a sad or difficult time becomes one from which we have grown wiser. Forgiveness is an internal process that takes time and efforts to develop; it does not happen spontaneously. By letting go, we give up our roles as victims; it is a promise to stop torturing ourselves and to fully move on. If you wait to forget before you forgive, you will live a life full of misery and frustration. Forgiveness is a defense mechanism that protects us both from inside evil that eats us internally (such as anger and hatred) and outside evil that we had been exposed to. It also helps us to recover after grieving time had passed. Forgiving is not about forgetting; it is about the decision to let the past be what it was and not grant memory, disappointment, and anger so much power over the life.
Occasionally, we hear this familiar cliché, “You have to forgive and forget”. Many people truly believe that in order to forgive someone they must first be eager to dismiss from the memory the painful events that caused a break in a relationship. In other words, they need to pretend that nothing bad ever happened. In a short story Forgiveness, Rebecca Brown, the author, introduces us to a relationship between the protagonist and antagonist. The whole story is represented through a series of metaphors, one of which is presented as an arm that was cut off by antagonist. The arm is a symbol of love, trust, and identity that was given by protagonist in order to prove his/her loyalty to antagonist. As soon as the antagonist gains total control over the loyal protagonist, he/she loses any interest in protagonist and leaves. Eventually, when the antagonist decides to make up with protagonist, the latter is unwilling to forgive. Protagonist claims,
And then I thought, but this was only half a thought, that even if you had changed, no really changed, truly and at last, and even if you knew me better that I know myself, and even if I’m better off than I’ve ever been, and even if this was the only way we could have gotten to this special place where we are now, and even if there’s a reason, darling, something bigger than both of us, and even if all these ifs are true, that I would never...

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