One afternoon while I was watching television, I came across a program that aired a meeting between a former terrorist and his victims. The event was broadcasted to commemorate the second Bali bombing. Something interesting was that the victims did not show any sign of anger towards the terrorist while narrating their story. Occasionally, the victims shed tears in memory of what happened: Some had lost parts of their body and others have lost their beloved ones. The incident which took place a few years ago had left deep wounds and trauma for the victims and the entire world.
At the end of the TV program, a young girl came on stage, reciting a prayer in honor of her mother who was also victim of this terrorist attack. I had tears in my eyes while watching her deep longing for her mother and her courage to move on with her life without her. She was about two years old when her mother passed away. She wondered why everyone was crying in her house. Why did her mother sleep without waking up again? Years had passed, when she realized that her mum had gone forever. This must have been the hardest day on her life. At the end of the program, they embraced one another like friends. There seemed to be no sign of hatred and anger. I was speechless witnessing what was happening. It would not be easy to forgive a person that had hurt us if not God had given us the power to forgive.
This story made me think about the meaning of forgiveness. It requires full sincerity to let go of something that we love and reconcile with someone. I strongly believe that this can only happen because of the intervention of the Almighty. Only with him, we can do things that would be simply impossible for humans.
If we take a look at our social media, we can find so many expressions of anger and hatred. People are attacking each other because of the injustice that happened. Everyone wants to justify themselves in every situation while only few are seeing the problem in a more positive light. This happens because people find it easier to justify mistakes rather than seeing the positives. All the negative energy that is poured into social media gradually forms our mindset to directly provide judgment regardless of the situation behind it.
I believe all of us have been in a situation where we are required to forgive even if it is painful. Here, our ego gets tested up to a point where we must let go of something very precious in order to reconcile with the person who has hurt us in the first place. Personally, I personally wouldn’t be able to do that without God. Forgiveness is a call to accept everyone as a brother regardless of their actions and to realize that no one in this world is perfect. We were born because of the love of our parents and therefore we should share that same love with others.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Many people say that only the weak are willing to forgive. But the opposite is true: Only the strong are able to forgive. Mahatma Gandhi once said “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” I understand that in some societies, people are raised with the idea to fight violence with violence. The ongoing wars in some parts of the world are (sad) proof of that.
What can we do to revive the sense of brotherhood in a society? It is undeniable that the differences and social inequalities become one of the triggers of injustice and violence. When anger continues to ignite, then disharmony is unavoidable. We are so overwhelmed by negative energy in our daily life that we are not even surprised if we see people shout at one another in the middle of the road.
When we can be at peace with ourselves we can reconcile with others.
Personally, I do not want to blame society seeing all the disorder around me. But I must look inside myself. The most important lesson is to understand and challenge my personality and my emotions. The reason why people become vulnerable to negative provocation is because they are not able to handle their own emotions. Character building becomes very important. Our well-formed personality allows us to control all the emotion within us. When we can be at peace with ourselves then at the same time we can also reconcile with others.
The experience of the former terrorist and their victims is an example that forgiveness is not impossible. Of course, this requires a painful process, but when there is love then we are able to forgive each other even those who have hurt us the most.
Hatred often happens because people are not able to control themselves and be humble. In other words: to loose in order to win. We should be reminded to always be humble and to accept who we really are without the fear to look weak. The act of forgiving means to embrace each other as brothers. Like the little girl who let go of her beloved mother, we too, are invited to let go of our ego and embrace others. Through forgiveness, we are invited to embrace everyone with love because only trough love we are able to forgive.