It is ironic that the people who strongly preach forgiveness are the ones most likely to need it. Religions preach it but some of the worst crimes against humanity past and present have been done in the name of religion. Africa has no shortage of missionaries preaching goodness and plundering its wealth whilst its children beg forgiveness for the sins of their fathers. We are trained to forgive and we do.
A friend recently got my attention by telling me that forgiveness was not always constructive. According to him it was wrong to forgive if the injustice committed was not just against me but what I represent, and so it was wrong to forgive things like racism, tribalism, and misogyny. The perpetrators keep offending and more people continue to suffer. How many child offenders repeat the offence because someone had ‘forgiven them’?
Sometimes the right thing to do is to bring them to justice. Sometimes it’s the only thing to do.
Forgiveness provides an excuse not to deal with a difficult situation. Yes we need to move on, but can we really move on if it is only redirected at someone else? When we know it could have been us and that someday it will be again?
By all means let go of bitterness but don’t accept poor treatment under the guise of forgiveness. No one rides your back unless you stoop to let him or her to get on and and we make the world a better place by challenging the status quo not by accepting it.
So the next time instead of going all smug and forgiving I’ll be thinking is this really for the greater good?.