Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Should I Forgive

Q: One of my friends and I got in a fight last year. It was pretty insignificant and I didn’t think much of it. But then she started saying stuff about me behind my back and got all of our friends to think that I am a horrible person. I never said one bad thing about her. She even got our homeroom teacher into it.

I cut off our friendship. But now everyone in our group says we should make up. I’m not sure if I should forgive her for all the stuff she’s done to me this past year and be friends with her again.

A: Forgiving is difficult. It usually means acknowledging that someone has hurt you and that is a hard thing to do. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We ask to be forgiven in the same manner we forgive. Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “Forgiving means abandoning your right to pay back the perpetrator in his own coin, but it is a loss that liberates the victim . . . One asks, ‘Have you forgiven those who held you prisoner of war?’ ‘I will never forgive them,’ replies the other. His mate says, ‘Then it seems they still have you in prison, don’t they?’” (No Future Without Forgiveness [Random House, 2000], pg. 272)

Forgiving someone is a difficult process, but if we do not forgive those who hurt us, the pain will never go away. I am not saying you need to be best friends with this person, but forgiving her will get rid of some of the tension and open the door to civility.