If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive, said Mother Teresa. Like her, many saints, gurus and spiritual teachers have often said to their followers that that if anyone misbehaves with you, talks bad about you or indulges in mudslinging and character-assassination, you should forgive such a person and forget about his misdemeanour. But the question that most of us would naturally have is that if we forgive such evil-doers and forget about their malicious and maligning campaigns, will we not be letting loose many mad bulls or elephants to run amok?
There can be many answers to the questions raised by many individuals regarding forgiveness, however, what we should understand in our capacity as a human being is that, if the tendencies to evil or misbehaviour are within tolerable limits and are not likely to obtain a boost by our action of forgiveness and if the person charged with misconduct expresses sincere regrets and apologies after deep realisation of his evil acts, then we should forgive and forget else we should take such preventive, non-violent, non-aggressive steps that do not downgrade our worth as a human being. And, let us remember that vengeance, vindictiveness, violence, virulent acts, vile and guile or wickedness and wrong-doing are not the ways of a noble-minded person.The power to forgive comes from compassion ,which means we should compassionately and peacefully move forward with what is good, towards what is better. But before we start to forgive others, we must learn to forgive ourselves, otherwise the process of releasing the burden would neither begin nor progress.
Forgiving ourselves means letting go of the past. But it also means not making the same mistakes again and again; not inventing convenient ways to excuse ourselves. A person who has hardened his own heart against others cannot feel even God's forgiveness and compassion. Hence, if we want to be forgiven, then we must be willing to forgive first ,because the one who forgives first not only proves his justice, but especially proves his love. That is why it is said that ‘A life well lived is your best revenge’. So, instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain , the power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you.
The writer is a spiritual educator and popular columnist for publications across India, Nepal & the UK. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org / www.brahmakumaris.com