What is forgiveness exactly?A few days back there was an interesting discussion about vengeance over at Nightlegend's. So does forgiveness mean a lack of desire for vengeance?Or does forgiving mean forgetting?Is it enough that you feel no anger towards someone & that you wish them no particular harm to say you forgive them?Is there something in the middle between being unforgiving & being vengeful?
These questions & others have been in the back of my mind for a few days. Have been debating whether to post about this because I find that I don't feel like posting the whole story. It's too long & too complicated & just not worth the time & effort it would take to write it. It's not important anymore. Normally if I write at all I like to write everything but this time I've decided to make an exception. It's something on my mind & I want to write about it so I will & I will avoid the details.
Suffice to say that person X is someone that I once thought very highly of who did something that caused quite a lot of trouble to me & a few people I really care about. This was a few years back. And this person still doesn't know that I know what he did because I never confronted him.
The reason I chose not to confront him is behind the questions I've been asking myself. Am I a forgiving person or not?I didn't confront X because normally I would only tell you that you hurt me & ask you for an explanation if I still have some respect or some feelings left for you. If I think there is hope for the relationship - that it can be saved. Or that you can fix what you did or somehow make me feel better about it. In cases where my mind is made up that I've lost respect or trust for good I don't feel like listening to pointless apologies or explanations. I've never forgiven anyone because they said I'm sorry. Apologies don't mean much to me I guess. If I want to forgive I'll do it whether the person apologizes or not. And if I don't want to forgive they can apologize from now until kingdom come and nothing will change inside me. Apologies are just words and talk is cheap.
But again what is forgiveness?Is what I feel towards this person X now vengefulness?Everyone keeps telling me I should forgive. Everyone assumes I have some kind of anger towards this person that I need to let go of. But the thing is when I look inside me I don't find anger. I find nothing. An utter & complete lack of interest. When people talk about him I find my mind wandering. People keep getting irritated because they keep having to repeat things they already told me about him. They say what's the matter with you?Why do you keep forgetting?But it's not that I forget. It's just that I didn't pay attention aslan.
This person is now going through some severe personal difficulties and this is why he's the focus of everyone's sympathy. But still everything I've seen him go through hasn't generated any feeling inside me.There's no sympathy, no pity but also no pleasure. There's just boredom. The truth is I just can't be bothered. Am not interested. I don't want to know. I keep wishing people would stop telling me because when they tell me there's a pressure to pretend to be interested & concerned & everyone makes me feel guilty if I'm not. But I don't want to pretend.
If there was something practical I could do to help him I would do it if I can - out of community spirit & because I don't really wish him any harm. It would be like when people ask you to contribute to clean up the street or something. You would do it but you wouldn't appreciate being asked to feel sentimental about the street. I just hate the way everyone wants me to show personal empathy & concern where I don't feel them.
And I hate these repeated requests to forgive. There's nothing to forgive. I used to find this person interesting & worthy of respect because I had a certain impression about him. He did something to show me he wasn't the man I thought he was. I can forget the personal harm & inconvenience he caused for me & for others since - thanks to God & no thanks to him - it was no lasting damage. What I can't forget is what his behavior revealed about him. Those are facts. I was blind. Then I saw. I can't go back to being blind again.
So I lost interest & respect because all the reasons for my interest & respect were no longer there. I don't care for him anymore because quite simply the person I cared about was not him. He's someone else & he bores me. So what am I supposed to forgive him for?For being himself?But is that my problem or his?As long as he's not part of my life anymore why should I care what he does or what he is?
I notice that I often react this way when people do something to hurt or disillusion me. They fall off the radar screen. They stop mattering. Not anger. Anger is what I feel when I still care. Not everyone is worth my anger.
So does this make me unforgiving?Hard & unfeeling?Because people have been saying that a lot I find myself having the impulse to go & see this person. Maybe if I see him & talk to him he'll say something or I'll see something that will make me feel something or make me like him again?Am I wrong or right to let others convince me that I have to force myself to like him or I'm not normal?