Today I was asked to speak on a radio show around the topic of forgiveness. As always on the journey back home I reflected on what I had said and what I wish I’d said.
My main point was that forgiveness enables us to rid ourselves of negative emotions such as resentment.
The example of this, which typically came to me afterwards was this, a very short while a go there were the Christchurch shootings. Most of us will be aware of this. At the time the radio station asked me to come and discuss something that had been aired in relation to this on the telly.
In short a man that had lost his wife in the shootings appeared on National television announcing he had forgiven his wife’s attacker. When I was first asked to comment on this I was reluctant. My first thoughts were along the lines of “it’s too soon” or “he could be in denial.” After some consideration I started to see a different side. This man had been brought up to believe that forgiveness is the right way. He saw the person and not the behaviour or their actions. He had compassion for them.
This greatly benefited the man as although I’m sure he is still going through a difficult period of grief he is doing it without anger or resentment. Surely this has to be better?
Now I’m not saying that I would be capable of such forgiveness so soon in such circumstances, in fact I know I wouldn’t be. But perhaps it’s showing that we should pick our battles and try to find forgiveness for the smaller things for both ourselves and others.