Franz Kafka went to an aquarium, looked into the eyes of a fish and said, "Now I can look at you in peace, I don't eat you anymore." He went directly to the source to whom he felt his sins had been committed against and asked for forgiveness. I believe he received it.
Forgiveness is a double-sided coin. There is the guilty side, the side that acknowledges that we require forgiveness. We have done something wrong, acted out of anger, forgotten a special date, hurt someone's feelings. We truly feel repentance and wish to receive forgiveness. Then, there is the forgiving side. There is that popular phrase, "It's easier to forgive than to forget." Initially, this makes sense, but I believe it is a flawed theory. If we really, truly, honestly forgive, we should have no problem putting the issue behind us. Holding onto a wrong doing is never healthy. Let it go. Let go of the guilt. Let go of the memory of past injuries.
There also is the important act of self forgiveness. Sometimes we hang on to things we have done wrong in the past, the wrong choices we made. Some even hold on to memories from childhood. The child they teased. The naughty things they did to their sister. If it is possible, we should go to the source of these injuries. Tell your sister you love her. Most importantly, move on! Stop injuring yourself!
Can we forgive someone who isn't repentant? That's a tough question, yet one that is so poignant right now. I don't believe terrorists very often are sorry for their deeds. But can we forgive them? Should we? Yes and yes! It is healing to our own hearts and minds to say we have forgiven someone who shows no sorrow. We can forgive them for doing what they did. Feel sorrow that they had so much hate in their hearts. Forgive them for not being able to open themselves to love. It is sad that some people are only taught to hate. They weren't able to break free of the constraints of prejudice.
Personally, I like the phrase, "Forgive and you shall be forgiven." Words to live by!
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