Monday, September 26, 2016

Forgiveness: right or wrong?





I came across this on Facebook. I usually hate these things, whatever they're called, Little Cards of Wisdom that tell you what to do. They never suggest: they TELL, just assuming you've got it all wrong and need a lesson. 

But this one stood out. This is one that few people will even approach in a lifetime, and I am not even sure I agree with all of it.

If forgiveness means "it's OK what you did", then I do not forgive. I do not forgive the several men who molested me when I was a child and a teenager. 

If forgiveness means "I don't mind it, I'm over it, it doesn't affect me any more," then I do not forgive.

So what does it mean?




People say it's a  "letting go". If I stay angry, I'll burn the rubber down and run on bald tires (or something). So if I just let go of the memory and the damage and the way it all derailed my life, perhaps permanently, then everything will be OK.

I "should" forgive. I will feel so much better if I do.

This is some sort of psychological/spiritual imperative these days.

I don't know how to do this.

I thought I did.




But then, it has that line in it, "through their own confusions". The men who molested me were having a good time and wanted to grab someone's ass and rub up against me, and it didn't matter if it was the 14-year-old sister of the host of the party. They weren't "confused", they were drunk and lecherous and oblivious to my pain.

If they had it to do over again, they'd still do it, because the fact is, they enjoyed it and were not concerned with how much it might damage me. They did not think of that at all.

So do I forgive them? What does that mean? "It's OK that you very nearly brought about my suicide"? It will never be OK.

What IS OK is that I have a life. 




In spite of an incredible amount of personal pain, I have reclaimed it. I don't entirely understand this. I don't want to hate. I feel sorry for those sorry sons-of-bitches. I pity them (and a couple of them are dead), though I also feel considerable contempt.

Feeling sorry for, and feeling pity - are these things closer to "forgiveness", or to "hate"? This may be as far as I ever go on that glorious, impossibly idealized Buddhist path.

(But that last part, well. No matter how idealized, this is something I need so badly,  I can't even tell you.)





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