Friday, November 30, 2012
I read this today on facebook. “Forgiveness Friday. Forgive someone today.” Well, it is Friday, and the thought is lovely. However, where do you draw the line to forgiveness and to never forgive? The synonyms for forgiveness are excuse, pardon, exonerate and let off. The first three sound like legalize. The latter term really means “let off the hook”. It sounds like the person who was caught speeding, “I was stopped for speeding but he let me off the hook with a warning.” It’s a minor crime that is overlooked. It’s a one time event was made in error or with bad judgment. So, with forgiveness, there is moving forward from the incident and having a fresh start. The person won’t speed again, or won’t reveal a secret, or won’t ignore a friend at a party. For they have been let off the hook…they have been forgiven.
Never forgiving doesn’t have to mean keeping an anger burning inside. Never forgiving doesn’t mean hating that person either. Hate is an active feeling. It drains energy. It churns the poison in your own being, and that’s self destructive. Never forgiving is disregarding someone, or labeling them as insignificant and not worth your while, which is far healthier to yourself, as far more upsetting to the one who’s done you an injustice.
We often hear about the death of a young person, and how the parent’s forgive their child’s killer. We’ve seen the interaction on many television talk shows. The perpetrator appears humble in requesting forgiveness. They show remorse for their deed, as well as tremendous guilt. Everyone involved still bears the pain in their heart, but they are able to move past the pain.
But what about the narcissistic sociopath who cannot show pain, remorse, empathy or guilt. What about the individual who continues to perpetrate the crime? Can the children they damage ever be fixed? They were purposefully hurt many times, for many years – it was no accident. How can forgiveness be given to that individual, regardless of the fact that today is “Forgiveness Friday”?
Therefore, in lieu of “Forgiveness Friday”, I live by my own “Good Deed Day”, every day of the week. I try to do something nice for a stranger everyday. It may be as insignificant as letting someone cut into the traffic in front of your car, or getting a bottle of the top shelf in a market they were unable to reach. Today, there was a young man sitting on the cold ground outside of the supermarket. He was asking for spare change and I gave him a dollar. I will continue with my daily good deeds. I will continue to forgive people any day of the week. But I will never forgive the narcissistic sociopath for the damage he’s done to my children, nor will I give him the energy of hatred….as his own self hatred has created an insignificant creature….and I have better things to do with my time.