These past few weeks have been very special to many of us. We have intentionally drifted from our usual habits, abstaining from eating for more than ten hours each day. Some of us have embarked on an inner pilgrimage during this precious and holy month. The battle within is so real on some days, but in the end, we know that it is always worth it. Fasting, perhaps, is like exercise: we dread and struggle to go through the workout, but the feeling that comes afterwards is a feeling unlike any other — feelings of rejuvenation and self-purification, by getting rid of the toxics that we have allowed to enter into our bodies for the past year.
This holy month brings people together like no other months in the year could. Relatives from near and far, either related by blood or by choice, come together and remind themselves of the beautiful bond that they once possessed and will continue to retain. Although we love these gatherings, there are honestly some small parts that we wish we could just skip. We get annoyed when asked particular questions that our relatives will never cease to ask. Gatherings are a fertile ground for disagreements and offenses to take place, because people are complex. They are complex in their backgrounds, their cultures, their perspectives, and their mindset.
With 8 billion complex beings living side by side on the earth, it is impossible not to hurt and be hurt.
And, thus, this holy month brings to us a message of reconciliation. It gives us an opportunity to wipe our slates clean. Forgiveness is not an easy task, it does not come to us by default. More often than not, disappointment and anguish are what we first release as reactions to hurt. But forgiveness is a good habit that we can and must nurture. So, why should we forgive?
Unforgiveness looks like a rope. It attaches us to the people who have wronged us. Our assumptions about them becomes a burden, slowing us down in our walk. The more we hold on to this rope, the more we become attached to it, and not the other way around. Unforgiveness poisons our minds with thoughts that are not always proven to be true. The other person might not even be aware of what they once did to us, but we hold their actions against them and we allow that to become a stained screen that divides us from and blocks our view of the world around us.
Forgive, not because that is what good people do. Forgive, not because it makes us look good. If we only forgive based on these reasons, we will never get to the root of our bitterness. Forgive, because when we do, we let go of that rope. Releasing forgiveness is not just about our ability to smile in front of the person who has wronged us. Releasing forgiveness is about our heart’s condition in the presence of the other person. Forgiveness is more about us than it is about the other person.
We forgive because we deserve to be free. We deserve to be free from the tightness of the rope’s grip, free from the imaginary burden of hate and bitterness. Forgiveness is like a key. When we choose to forgive, we open up the gate to new paths and possibilities — not because something supernaturally magical happens the second we choose forgiveness, but because that misty cloud that’s been hovering over our heads and before your eyes is finally lifted up, and the fog of negativity and pessimism finally fades. This key unlocks healings, gets us unstuck, and moves us forward in our journey. Forgive, because the continuity of your life depends on it.
We forgive because the people who have wronged us deserve to be free. They deserve to be seen as more than just the one thing that they did to us once in the past. They are more than their actions. We forgive because it releases them from the attachment we have made to them, allowing them to move on, live freely and become their full selves.
During this holy month, as the gates of heaven are opened upon us, let us make peace with what other people have done to us, and our own past mistakes. When we gather and feast, let us not forget to serve forgiveness at the table. Releasing forgiveness might just make our world a much better place.