Archive for August, 2005

Truth and Forgiveness

forgiveness and truth. two of the most abstract concepts that our strange human minds have managed to concoct.can you really define either? i decided to look them up in the dictionary just to see what the “accepted” definition was. (both definitions are abbreviated) truth: The quality of being in agreement with reality and facts
sincerity; honesty
an established verified fact
if only it was just a question of an established verefied fact. the truth is not that simple. If a color blind man said that two objects were the same color when it turns out they are different in our eyes does that mean he did not tell the truth? what if for some strange reason the mahority of the population turned color blind. would it then be considered the truth? say you are standing on one side of the desk and another person is standing on the other side of the desk. a third person places an object in the middle of the table and says to you What color is this object? Tell the truth. you see clearly that the object is white. the third person then repeats the question to the other person. they say that the object is black. the third person then says that you each lied. the object is both black and white depending on your point of view. were you lying when you said the object was white? probably not. but were you telling the truth? your point of view showed that the object was white. that was your view. our was it your opinion? the questioner said what color is the object, not what color was the object in your point of view. were you telling the truth?

it only goes to show that your truth may be another’s lie. can the case be the same when recounting events?

Forgive: to give up resentment or the desire to punish; pardon.

First of all, I find that definition wrong. Example: A child goes and breaks a window. His parents forgive him of course because he is a just a kid afterall, but they still punish the kid by making him help pay for it to teach him a lesson. Does the fact that his parents punished him make them any less forgiving? Of course not. So forgiving cant just be lack of desire to punish.

And as for the second part. Say a stranger bumps into you at the store. They turn and say sorry and you nod your head, pardoning them and allowing them to continue shopping. But inside you are filled with resent and dislike and maybe even a wish to get back at this stranger. So just because you pardoned them you forgave them? The dislike and resent boiled up inside you mean nothing? I dont think theyve quite got it there either.

I think the fact of the matter is its not quite as simple as that. Forgiveness can be better defined by looking in at your feelings. Have you lost all the intense dislike that has been building up inside of you against the person? Have those feelings suddenly vanished? Forgiveness is not quite as easy as accepting someones apology. If you accept someones apology you are saying “I understand that you feel badly about what you did” Looking closely at that statement it means just that. I understand you feel badly. I understand. Forgiving someone is quite different. Forgiving is not only understanding that someone feels badly about what happened but saying that you no longer feel badly. Any feelings that had been holding back, any resentment or hard feelings have vanished. You are completely at ease. They have earned your trust back. And you know that the person you are forgiving feels this as well.

i can accept apologies quickly, but my forgiveness is well reserved.

So why does the human mind invent such abstract concepts as these? concepts that cannot be defined , nor explained. yet, despite all the difficulties that are entangled in these simple words they continue to exist in the english language. why? because although our brains cannot even begin to describe them, our heart fully understands them. when you tell the truth your brain can argue against the entire idea using my same arguements, but your heart knows when you speak the truth. and while your brain tries to determine the fine line between acceptence and forgiveness, inwards you know exactly when you have crossed it.

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