This I Believe

Gretchen - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on September 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: forgiveness
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This I Believe

What if someone did a horrible and wrong thing to you, would you be able to forgive them? I believe that every person has the ability to forgive, but some don’t have the courage or will to do so. The individuals that do overcome their differences and decide to forgive are, in my mind, the bigger person. You have to keep in mind that people do make mistakes and just because this mistake might have influenced your life in a large way, it will benefit not only the person you are forgiving but also yourself because you have a clear conscience. Is there really any benefit of not forgiving someone? There really isn’t because what would the world be like if everyone kept grudges, the world would have no beauty; rather it would be ugly and unpleasant. Also, remember that forgiving someone is not on their behalf, it is an action in which you are freeing yourself from the situation and moving on with your life, not dwelling on it. Just because you decide to forgive someone doesn’t mean that you will forget. Many things are forgivable but never forgettable. As Thomas Szasz says “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget”. For the most part much of resentment towards a person is due to a large amount of hurt and pain. Both hurt and pain will go away with time and then, and only then, will you sincerely be able to forgive someone. Try not to get wrapped up in the situation and have every aspect of your life revolve around whether or not you will be able to forgive that certain person. This just makes it even harder to forget what was done and to forgive.

One person who is very inspirational to me is Mahatma Gandhi. His words are very true and meaningful. He stated “If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless”. This is very true because if everyone acted out in revenge, what would we do to stop it? There would be no end and a lot of people would end up getting hurt in the process instead of only a few people doing the painless act of forgiving. Even though it may be hard, it is the best thing to do. Gandhi also goes on to say “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. This is very powerful and at the same time very true. Many people think that because they forgive someone they are backing down or becoming the weaker man, but in reality that person had the courage to move on. And that is really the key point; the stronger and more mature person is the one who forgives not the other way around. Forgiveness, the act of separating one self from a difficult situation and coming to grips with reality and the fact that staying in a dispute will only worsen the circumstances; this I believe in.