Forgive, and Don’t Forget

Sophie - Wilmette, Illinois
Entered on October 30, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: forgiveness

Thomas S. Szasz one said, “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” I interpret this quote as the way you forgive being a way to show what kind of person you are. I believe that people should forgive, and have come to this conclusion from multiple experiences.

Some years ago, Michael Richards made a racist comment to the public, during his comedy show, thinking it would be humorous. Understanding that he may have hurt some people, he apologized. Since then, he’s never made the same mistake. So, why is his career slowly fading? I don’t think people in our country are ready to forgive others for the small mistakes they make. I think we’re all looking for the little flaws in others’ lives and/or careers, only to criticize them. We need more things to talk about, more things to publish on newspapers, more ways to stretch the truth. Mel Gibson also said some hurtful things to the Jewish community, and didn’t understand that they were mean. I think we should be wary about supporting people who go the distance to criticize others.

Attending my Hebrew school has given me a different perspective on this thought. Reading and dissecting the Torah, I realized that if someone understands the thing they did wrong, they should be forgiven. There are three ways to ask for forgiveness. The first is asking face to face. If this doesn’t work, you should gather a group of the wronged person’s friends, and get them on your side in order to gain forgiveness. If the above attempts don’t work, you let them come to you when they’re ready.

Looking at the big conflicts in the world, I try to make forgiveness a part of my daily routine. By trying to forgive first when I’m in an argument, I hope to make my relationships stronger. I’ve heard stories in books about kids who get in big fights with their parents, then the next day they’re in a car crash. I don’t think anyone wants to hold grudges against the people they’ll miss if they die.