“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Ghandi
In doing research on a project on forgiveness, I came across this quote on forgiveness. In light of all the research findings on the subject, I wish I could talk to Ghandi about his perspective. I am very curious.
Dr. Everett Worthington, a professor at VCU also did extensive research on forgiveness, and wrote an excellent book entitled Forgiving and Reconciling. In it, he talks about people whom he studied with heinous acts of violence committed against them and their own experience with forgiveness. He reports that many people who ultimately forgive big offenses, talk about how forgiveness happens almost like receiving a gift. One day they wake up and realize, “Hey, I have forgiven.”
They don’t use language like “strong” to describe themselves, what they are more likely to say is that they are grateful.
Now, hear me out. I don’t think Ghandi got it wrong! However, I think that “strong” looks different than self-will.
And to be honest, the folks in this study worked hard on the subject of forgiveness. They thought about the need, their willingness, and told themselves the truth about their own experience. In fact, it is their work and self-assessment about the depth of the offensiveness that helped them come to view the act of forgiveness as a gift.
Here’s what I think. They knew themselves well enough – on the inside – to realize that they couldn’t “just forgive” and get on with it without some kind of outside divine intervention. It was a work of cooperation, not a gift that was delivered by a drone and plopped down on their head.
That is strong personified. When we can tell the truth, that is strong. When we can do the work that fits our inspired way of seeing – like spiritual people being reconciling, forgiving sorts. That’s strong.
So if you feel weak, maybe you’ve got it backwards. Maybe what you are is aware of your limitations. But I recall this on days when I feel like that, Jesus replied, “My Father is still working, and I am working too.” John 5:17 CEB
I wonder. Are you “stronger” than you think because you have misunderstood what it means to be strong in your inner being?