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Art of forgiving

india Updated: Jun 10, 2010 01:16 IST

All of us have been wronged by someone or the other. As we carry on with those grudges, we not only allow the other person to hurt us, but also let him control our life each moment. Revenge and turmoil eat our soul and engulf our life.

The most creative power given to human beings is the power to heal the wounds of the past, the power to forgive. Forgiveness is a gift that God has given us for healing ourselves. It aligns us with the cosmic scheme through which we learn to accept the occurrence of events in our lives. Forgiving is the essence of spirituality because it liberates us from our suffering.

Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, is full of verses that emphasise the need to forgive. “Bure da bhala mana gussa man na vasa” (Be grateful to the one who is bad to you since he is only an instrument. Don’t allow anger to fester in your mind),” goes one verse.

We think that forgiveness is an excuse for escapism, inaction or cowardice and only those who cannot fight forgive. But there is a difference between fearing and forgiving. It is incorrect to believe that our decision to forgive will turn us into a coward. The Bible says forgiving is a sign of power.

Forgiving does not require us to reunite with the person who broke our trust, nor does it mean we accept the person’s behavior. It merely means that we erase the “hate” within ourselves and stop living a life of torment and pain. Forgiveness heals the past releasing ill-will against the person while not forgetting the pain that guides our future actions.

The first step to forgiveness is recognising that by holding on to our grudges to make the other person unhappy we are actually making ourselves unhappy.

The truth is that attachment to the hurtful past doesn’t harm the other person, but negatively impacts our emotional well-being. Martin Luther had said “forgiveness is pure happiness.”