The act of forgiving

To say, “I forgive.” To me, these are not just words. It took a lot for me first to forgive and then to seek forgiveness for events that had once traumatised me. The truth behind those events, I don’t suppose I will ever know in this life. We have the day of judgement for that.

The further we get from those events, the less likely it is that the truth will ever be known. Most will have forgotten, and others will never have known in the first place. For these particular events, I’d doubt any more than three people could ever have set the record straight. But that was then; years now separate us.

After penning a long-winded post detailing the facts as I remember them, in the end I had to delete it all, concluding that I was confused then and am even more confused now. Nothing is gained from raking over that old ground. And in any case, those that know what happened don’t need to be told by another what occurred. So here we return to that act of forgiving instead. To forgive actions that once caused immense distress and pain. To forgive all, in the hope of forgiveness.

What can we say with any certainty about events back then? That we were all kids. We were all finding our feet. That I didn’t know what their backstory was. I made mistakes of my own, that’s for sure. I didn’t know their culture, or understand their expectations. I was yet to learn that I had to wait my turn. I was a stranger amongst them. I hadn’t walked in their shoes. I was oblivious to the world I had entered. And, I suppose most importantly of all, I couldn’t see myself: I couldn’t see what they all saw.

I confess that it wasn’t easy to forgive — pervasive slanders and threats of violence never are — but this is the path I am called to, for we are taught: “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful.”

Thus do we try to forgive, in the hope of forgiveness in kind. Whether they choose to forgive me for my own part is, I guess, immaterial. I would hope they no longer believe I deserved all that. I would hope that if our paths ever crossed again today, we would all just say sorry to one another. I’d hope they’re not still wishing me harm. But that is the great unknown.

Still… peace. Salamun qawlam mir Rabbir Raheem. A word from a merciful Lord.

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