Let us forgive one another while there is yet time: for the day cometh when the opportunity to forgive will be taken away from us.
We live in a society which emphasises ruthless power to succeed. We glorify individualism and the instinct for self-preservation. The act of forgiveness, the attitude of pardon is often regarded as a weakness – even a sign of cowardice. We are told repeatedly: fight for your rights; protect your rights; do not yield to anyone!
I would like to tell you that the act of forgiveness holds great power – not just spiritual power, but the kind of power no one can despise. It asserts your dignity and self-worth. It reveals your inner strength and establishes your ability to forgive. It brings conflicts and struggles to a positive ending – for it helps us to overcome the vicious cycle of resentment and revenge and enter the realms of unity, peace and harmony. What is more important, each act of forgiveness inspires others to do the same, setting off a positive chain reaction.
Forgiveness frees us from remaining victims of the past. It teaches us new ways to respond to events and people. Above all, we can practise forgiveness even against people who have betrayed our faith in human nature – because it frees us from the burden of expectation, of wanting anything in return.
Forgiveness sets us free. It gives us the opportunity to start afresh, to do better next time. It allows us to be freed from the grievances, penalties, and shackles of past mistakes. It heals the one who forgives – and the one who is forgiven.
Forgiveness could change the history of modern civilisation if only we allow it to flow through the sea of humanity. Alas, it is we who stand in its way – we refuse to give in, we refuse to let go! Martin Luther King saw forgiveness as having the potential to turn an enemy into a friend. It can transform the world – if only we let its magic work!
* August 2, Rev Dada J P Vaswani's birthday, is observed as Global Forgiveness Day.
Dada J P Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader