Recently I tried to make amends with a former friend who has been very angry at me for the past six months. It took me a long time but I finally decided to put my own anger towards him aside and try to make peace, mostly for the sake of my boyfriend who feels torn between us.
I wrote a sincere letter to this former friend and I admitted what I had done, apologized and asked to be forgiven. My letter was not well-received. His response was filled with disgust, anger, and (it’s not too much to say) hatred. He set some conditions under which he may consider hating me less but it certainly didn’t amount to being forgiven. It wasn’t what I had hoped for but I’ll have to accept it.
Forgiveness is very difficult. It requires you to let go of the feeling that you are in the right and someone else has wronged you. It requires you to give up the luxury of being a victim and release the person or thing that has injured you from the burden of their actions. It takes an incredible amount of strength. But forgiveness is power because only you can choose to do it. It’s entirely up to you. Hanging onto hurt and anger is easy. Anyone can do that. It feels too good to say, “I’m right.” Choosing to forgive someone shows true power and strength because not everyone can do it. Not everyone can say, “I may be right, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is releasing the negativity. What matters is embracing something greater than my own pain.”
For those who can’t forgive, no punishment will ever be enough for the offender. Even death will not suffice for some. Hate and anger can go on endlessly, literally for thousands of years, after an event occurred or a word was said. The upset can continue on even after reparations are made. The hurt only ends when you choose to let go of it. It only ends when you are willing to stop saying, “I’m right and you are wrong”. It only ends when you choose to stop being the victim. Truly, it is one of the greatest challenges a person can take on in life.
I can hardly blame my former friend for being unwilling to forgive me. He feels in his heart that my actions were abhorrent and truly unforgivable. I have to live with that. I’m not sorry that I attempted to make peace with him though. It forced me to look at the people in my life that I have had trouble trying to forgive. I realized that this incident isn’t about my receiving forgiveness. It’s about me finding it within myself to give forgiveness. If I can do that, it’s enough.