Forgiveness is therapeutic …

Forgiveness is healing — if asking for it is sincere. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asked for forgiveness for whatever wrongs he did in his previous tenure as PM and the nation forgave him. As a result, he succeeded in rallying the nation behind him in one concerted effort to oust Datuk Seri Najib Razak through the just concluded 14th general elections.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes also asked for forgiveness in a personal video for painting an Air Asia aircraft in the BN colours to take Najib back to Kuala Lumpur from Sabah. He might have been sincere but, apparently, the people were not convinced and he was publicly roasted. I can understand the anger of the people against Fernandes for bending over backwards to accommodate Najib without regard to the people who wanted to get rid of him from public office.

To Fernandes’s defence, I have to say that he did not believe that the Pakatan Harapan opposition alliance would win as most analyses still predicted a BN win. (I was the exception because I factored in faith!) Invoke Malaysia predicted a slim majority win on the day before voting day. So, it wasn’t surprising that Fernandes backed the horse, which was the power to be at that time. It backfired and he now has to deal with the fallout.

If asking for forgiveness is sincere it is often transparent. People can recognize it. When we sincerely ask for forgiveness it is because we know our actions have wounded others, whether rightly or not is not the point. The point is we know people have been hurt by our actions and we take steps to correct it.

It begins by asking for forgiveness. And, when we do we won’t make it seem like we are doing it for the sake of expediency. And, it won’t be conditional. We won’t say “if  I’ve done something wrong … please forgive. ”  No, we’ll come out outright and apologize and our sincerity becomes apparent.

When that happens, it is easy to forgive — and forget! I recall a personal experience when I was full of hate for a family member. It took me decades to forgive him and he was too proud to ask for it. But, I forgave him anyway and, somehow, the hate vanished and I began to see him more honestly and stopped judging him. It had an ameliorating influence on our relationship. I was glad we were able to restore our relationship before he passed on.

When there’s a need for forgiveness and we don’t ask or offer it, the relationship remains estranged and no matter what we do we can’t get it back on a good footing. It’s the relationship that is built up when there is forgiveness, and, when that is righted, other things will naturally fall into place.

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