BUT YOU HAVE TO…
When I was growing up, one of the things we recited at home, at school or at the church was The Lord’s Prayer. One of the lines that always stood out to me was: And forgive us our trespasses even as we forgive those who trespass against us. It’s a pretty straightforward verse. It emphasises on the importance of forgiving those that wrong you because we sin all the time and we would love for God to forgive us when we sin. I never had a problem with this growing up.
In fact, I considered myself to be a very forgiving human being. If someone stole my pencil, I would forgive. If someone insulted me, I would forgive. The truth is, no one had ever really wronged me to the point where I thought I couldn’t forgive. Even though I was molested which was a terrible injustice in itself, I was too young to really process it and by the time I got to a point where I could, I was more mad at myself. I held a little resentment towards the adults around me as I felt that they should have known but as I have grown older, I realise that no one is perfect and I can’t blame them for not knowing. I mean, how could they have known? Anyway, point is, even with all of this, I hadn’t really felt an almost unforgiving hurt but that was about to change.
When I was 18, my boyfriend slept with my friend. The night I found out, I felt an indescribable hurt that I have never felt in my life. That night was a turning point for me. That night changed me. Even though, I am over it now, I still tear up writing this because I remember how my whole world came crashing before me in a split second. It was definitely one of the worst nights of my life.
So, here I was…hurt out of my mind and now being in a situation where I had to forgive. So, I know a lot of people say that you should be mad at the guy and not the girl, and those people are right. However, for me, all I could see was my love and my friend.
At that moment in time, even though he was the one who messed up, I knew that it would be easier for me to forgive him before I ever forgave her. This was my friend. I cared for her. I loved her. I was always going to be there for her no matter what. I had told her things about me; things about my relationship; and for her to do me like that, I couldn’t imagine ever speaking to her again IN LIFE.
Even though that moment should have been the moment that I ended things with my boyfriend, I didn’t. I believed him when he told me it was a mistake and I wanted to believe that we will get past it. So, I was ready to put all the blame on her even though, she didn’t deserve all of it.
It took me a while to forgive her. Actually, it took me a long time. Longer than I thought it will take. For a long time, I never really got a real apology from her. There were times when she will apologise to me and I will believe that she was being sincere. Then, I will see her throwing subs at me on Twitter or people will come to me telling me stuff that she had said about me. So, I had to learn to forgive her, knowing that I might never ever get that apology from her.
I never wanted to be friends with her ever again but I wanted to get to a place where I could be in the same room with her or even say ‘hi’ without cursing her under my breath. There were times when I genuinely thought I had forgiven her and then, I catch myself saying or thinking something mean about her and that was not the kind of person I wanted to be. When I became editor of my university’s news bulletin, I knew that I had to work with her and I was dreading it because I didn’t want to have to be around her. Then, I spoke to myself and said: Self, there are times when you will have to work with people that you do not like or may not like you, what are you going to do then?
So, I made it a conscious decision every time we sat down to write a script together or consult with each other, that I will put personal feelings aside and do what I am supposed to. Honestly, I hadn’t forgiven her yet but it was a step in the right direction. It wasn’t until two years after the incident that I realised that I had forgiven her truly and I wished her the very best. She sent me a message a couple of months after my realisation asking me to forgive her about what happened and for the first time, I felt a real genuine apology. I finally felt like I got closure.
You know, when people preach forgiveness, it is one of those things that is easier said than done. How do you let go of the hurt that someone has caused you? I was so broken-hearted not just by a guy that I loved but also by a friend that I genuinely cared about. I was not ready to forgive. I tried to. I honestly did try but I was too hurt. As time passed, I really wanted to get over it. I just wanted to move on from the hurt. I wanted to forgive her not for her, but for myself. I could not let someone hold that power over me. So, I tried and I tried and it took me a while but I eventually did it and I feel so much better about it. Holding on to that pain a lot of times does you more harm than good. No one is asking you to forget. I mean, personally speaking, I don’t forget, not because it hurts me but just because it taught me to be more cautious and to have a tighter circle of friends. However, even when you do not want to forgive, you just have to do for yourself. It will be hard but it is worth it.