I have been thinking how problematic the concept of forgiveness is. It is simply ridiculous. And I have been coming to terms why it is always a big ask.
I understand the Christian notion and the philosophical justification, but it is a dicey subject.
See, there are two types of wrongs done to us: intentional and unintentional.
Unintentional wrongs may be hurtful words said in a moment of insanity. Or physical violence that is unprovoked or because of a misunderstanding. The sorry said by the offender once they come to their senses sometimes can be genuine and this we often forgive and even forget.
But the worst wrongs are those done to us intentionally. When someone, say, your spouse insults you repeatedly. When someone says things no decent human being should say. Or physical or emotional abuse that is deliberate and inexcusable.
Abuse is about balance of power. It is always the strong(financially, physically, cognitively, and other ways, where scales of measurement tilt the other way) who are abusing the weak.
The weak are expected to forgive the strong.
E.g an abusive partner is the one who wields some momentary power over the other.
Here is my problem with forgiveness.
It is a one-sided thing. The one who abuses you rarely cares about your apology. Your apology is always a show of weakness and a justification why they abused you in the first place.
For one to abuse you I have noticed, they must hold a lot of contempt for you. They must despise you so bad that they can’t acknowledge your humanity. Whatever weakness you have(sometimes virtues) are contemptible to their face.
That is why abusers are rarely remorseful. I have met men who abuse their women and they are rarely contrite. When I talk to women who abuse their men, they rarely acknowledge that they were on the wrong. They focus more on why it was justified for them to abuse their men.
It is always like that. Europeans people abused us for so long, enslaved us, colonised us, looted our land. Then, ‘we had no choice but forgive them’.Nearly all our founding fathers of Africa rhetoric was full of forgiveness nonsense. And sensing the pointlessness of forgiveness, they added, “we will forgive, but we will not forget.” The colonisers felt nothing. Kapisa. If they would do it again, they would.
How do you handle forgiveness?
Like in the bible?
Like an African?
Or you treat each case individually.
As a Christian who wants to do better every day, I think a lot about the way forward.
Often, I don’t pay much attention to those who wrong me. I relegate them to a part of memory or erase them and try to cram a Fally Ipupa song. But some hurts are sticky like Super Glue.
There are some that my heart is too heavy to let go. Even more pissed off, is that those who wronged me wouldn’t give two Chimpanzee’s ass about my forgiveness.
And that is why forgiveness is tricky.
There are those who think whatever they are doing is not wrong. That whatever words they said, whatever abuse they sent your way, whatever insults, physical, emotional, to them you deserved it even when you didn’t invite it.
To them, they have no sense of remorse. No biological capacity to understand their actions in a way may have hurt you.
If they have to say sorry, they don’t mean it. They rarely say sorry. Because their pride is important than your feelings.
That is why I never knew expect sorry from those who hurt me. I distance myself from them to protect myself. I don’t expect them to be care much about my forgiveness.
My not forgiving them is usually me trying to forget about them and focusing on what is ahead. What is important. And trying to know better so that I can stay away from abuse in the future.
What do you do to those who abuse you?
What do you do when you wrong others?
Do you come to your senses when you realise you are on the wrong, or do you look for excuses to justify your behaviour?
Does pride and ego play a role on how you respond to those who you have hurt?
Do you understand the extent of your damage and try to distance yourself from the person you have offended, often for good, to respect their feelings?
Or you just an arse who couldn’t care?
Do you keep scores?
Do you prefer revenge?
I find revenge to be more human.
I totally understand the sweetness of schadenfreude.
How do you go about it?