When we have been hurt by another, it can be very difficult to come to terms with the woundedness we feel. But by accepting and embracing our own wounds we open a door to forgiveness and new life. Too often people hoard grudges in their hearts which eventually affect their ability to develop healthy human relationships.
One of the most important skills we each need is that of knowing how to forgive. There is an African proverb which states: ‘He who forgives ends the quarrel.’ Forgiveness builds us up and helps us move on; whereas revenge destroys and creates bitterness. Forgiving helps us to heal our own wounds.
Some people consider those who forgive to be weak or to be cowards or stupid. But there is much wisdom in the proverb: ‘The noblest vengeance is to forgive’. The gospels (Mt. 18:21-35) tell us that God is always ready and willing to forgive, even the most serious faults of people. Now, if this is the behaviour of our God, we do not have any pretext to deny anyone our forgiveness.
The parable of the prodigal son reveals explicitly God's desire to restore a loving relationship with people. By forgiving us our faults we are empowered to become like God (Mt. 5:48). Jean Paul Richter wrote the insightful words: 'Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness or else forgiving another.’
When we 'change our hearts' and forgive, we change ourselves and we 'change our world' for the better. This is how we translate the life and message of Jesus into our daily lives. Our situation in Sudan invites us to undertake this change of heart if we want a changed world. Hence, we are invited to be courageous enough to break down the walls (cultural, social, political, religious, psychological, and economical) that hinder us to forgive ourselves and others and hence reconcile for the building of a just and peaceful society.
Louis Okot, MCCJ
Courtesy of Solidarity with Southern Sudan
Solidarity with Southern Sudan