Understanding Over Reason

David - Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Entered on March 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: forgiveness

A friend of mine had a crush on a boy. She told this to some of her friends, who decided that they ought to try and help her with the situation, since she was pretty shy and they weren’t. So, her friends came up to the guy without her knowing and spoke to him about it, trying to get him to ask her out. He didn’t want to. Upon discovering that her crush was awkward around her afterwards, she consulted her friends, who explained the situation to her. She immediately started giving them all the silent treatment.

To me, it seemed that her friends were just trying to help her (they were acting with good enough intent), but it can also be agreed that they shouldn’t have interfered in the relationship without asking. It’s hard for her to accept that they were trying to do her a favor, since in the end, they ruined her relationship with the boy. So, if she comes to me, I try to help.

In explaining that her friends were trying to do her a favor, I find myself rolling a rock up a hill. The mountain arises out of society’s default belief that when somebody hurts you, you need to be angry at them, which makes it impossible for you to see exactly what their motives were. I try to push the boulder of the “enemy’s” reasoning up the societal mountain in an effort to abolish this belief and bring about forgiveness or understanding.

Of course, some people refuse to listen. Some will dismiss anything that’s said in the defense of their foes with a “whatever” or “I don’t care.” They’re focused on their anger and nothing can disrupt their drive to spite and scorn. But, to counterbalance them, there are others who begin to adopt my way of considering an argument. When confronted with a “Well, aren’t you angry?” they’ll respond with “He wasn’t trying to do anything wrong.” They quickly find that if they really think about it, there’s nothing to hold against the other person, and so they’ll forgive him. Eventually, my friend forgave the girls who messed with her relationship. Sure, she was still sore about losing the boy, but her friends were back, and they helped cheer her up.

There’s no greater joy than the kind you get from watching hatred turn into forgiveness, and when you understand two sides of a dispute, it makes the transformation just that much easier. You may not want to forgive someone during a conflict, but afterwards, it’s obvious that it can only benefit you. I believe that understanding and forgiveness are essential to happiness, however hard they may be to acquire or achieve.