Forgive and Forget

6fd0bd77729ebbe80d8d338d89236c6fIsn’t that what all our religious scriptures ask us to do? Forgive and Forget.

Gita, Bible, Quran all of them lay emphasis on the divine act of forgiving. Right since childhood one is taught to be forgiving. That forgiving is an act of kindness.

One should forgive others for their wrong deeds, sinful acts. Forgive and forget is one learning that is etched in my memories right from the time I took from crawling to walking.

I still remember, as a kid, my good old grandpa always stressed upon imbibing the virtue of forgiveness. It was as he used to call it, the key to happiness, to which I always wondered what the lock was. It was not until later that I realized what he really meant. Everyone deserves to be forgiven no matter what.

The girl next seat in class abuses, do not counter-abuse, forgive.
Someone pokes a pencil in your skin, do not repeat the act but forgive.
Your lunched box is snatched away, do not cry but forgive.
Someone’s being beaten; forgive (even if it’s not you who is being beaten).

I mean, it had turned into quite a law. My grandpa, I must tell you, was a lot into the forgiveness thing, always. And what’s more, not just forgive but forget too. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
Forgive and forget. Do not curse, do not retaliate, but forgive and forget.

Growing up to a certain age, I realized it did help. A lot. Trust me. To keep from getting into troubles. To avoid fights. Keeping silent does ward off a lot of things. I mean, when you are on the way to salvation with biggies like forgive and forget and all, you are considered something of a sage. People do not bother you much. Heck! They won’t even notice you much. For some, you are practically invisible, non-existing. For others, you are something between a coward and a spooked rat.

There, grandpa’s law did help me quite a bit. Atleast in earning a few names, ‘dumb’ being one of my favorites. So, I stopped bringing school issues at home. I mean, you wouldn’t want a sound forgive-full advice at home when actually you’re notebook pages were shred to pieces since you denied finishing fellow-student’s home assignment and you’re the one who ended up getting punished along with those others.
I always wondered if those students even knew that all that while I was graciously forgiving them for everything they did. Because that’s the last thing I’d want to live with if I am going to be around them for another decade and more.

Amidst being nice and dumb at school, I asked grandpa what good did the entire forgiving thing do to me? I was the one suffering, right?
On this he said,
Don’t worry about the hurt they cause you, child. They don’t intend to, they are just kids. Besides, someday they’ll know what they did was wrong. And remember, God sees all.”
Well, it must have been too much advice to process in an age like that. He always said that it’s for everyone’s happiness that you should learn to forgive. And even when you’ve forgiven someone, forget that they ever wronged you. Do not ever hold grudges against them as it only poisons your soul with bad revengeful thoughts. Therefore, forgive and forget helps to keep negativity at bay and your heart at peace. And that’s what God wants too.
Yeah! Like, at that age, I really cared about what God wanted.

Grandpa’s gone. It’s been years. Sometimes, I feel those years were good. It was so easy then than now to stick by rules and laws made. As years have passed, I have only grown to realize how unrealistic it sounds – forgive and forget.
I’ve found myself to deviate numerous times from that one path grandpa had laid. And even now, I find it increasingly difficult to follow that one advice, to forgive and forget. I think it to be such waste of time and faith.
Okay, so I am not an anti-forgive person. I am not. I do forgive people. I almost do. But I can never forget what they did. Even at the slightest memory of them, every little detail surges back to me like a tide and I find myself cursing them inwardly. So then does that mean I did really forgive them? Sometimes, I don’t even want to forgive some people because I feel they don’t deserve to be forgiven. And that’s not because forgiving them is not going to do me any good but because I know they will still do the same thing. They will still hurt someone else. They did not care enough then, why should they now?

I know deep inside that my dear old grandpa would never approve of my attitude if he was around. But if he were still around, I’d like to ask him something.
And it’s this – Do I still forgive and forget when someone tries to ffhurt me in an irreparable manner? Do I still forgive and forget when they force themselves on me or on anyone I love in a way considered inhumane by nature? Do I still forgive and forget when someone, for their personal and material gains shreds humanity to pieces by their unlawful acts? Do I? And even if I do, will that not leave a destructive impression on my mind and heart forever? Even if I forgive and forget, will it help me live normal? Forgive and forget, will it help me restore my lost faith?

So my question for you today is this – How can you forgive if you can’t forget?

-Asha Seth