A news item this week told story of a dad who had his arm amputated following a motorbike crash and awarded nearly £700,000 in damages, who says he will never forgive the driver responsible.
Whilst none of us can begin to imagine what trauma he has suffered, does vowing not to forgive actually help?
I was very struck at the time of the Remembrance Day bombing of 1987 in Eniskillen, of the father whose daughter was murdered that day by the Provisional IRA, who said “I miss her terribly but I bear them no ill will”. He forgave them and said he would pray for them each day!
We have just read again the Good Friday stories of Jesus on the cross where he says of the soldiers who put him there ‘ Father forgive them,,,,,,’ His words show us again how to behave towards others.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus told Peter to not just forgive once, but to forgive someone “seventy times seven” going on to say that if we do not forgive others, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us ( 6:15)
Forgiveness isn’t sweeping things under the carpet and saying what has happened is okay nor is it necessarily forgetting what happened. I don’t think that forgiving is easy, and it may take time and effort, but I do know we are called to do so. Also that by practising forgiveness, we are letting go of the hurt that has been done to us and ultimately allowing ourselves to heal rather than to perpetuate the suffering.