We all know by now that forgiveness is better for ourselves and for the other person/ people involved. Despite this, it’s still very difficult for us to forgive others. There are different reasons for this, but the important point is that shaytaan will work hard to encourage us not to forgive. He will ensure through the different ways that we do not forgive, because this will ultimately lead to a breakdown of relationships and this makes shaytaan very happy.
I really like the following story becuase it reminds us that Forgiveness is actually better for ourselves and we think that we're doing someone else a favour by forgiving, but actually we are doing a huge favour for ourselves.
The Weight of Resentments
A teacher once told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they refuse to forgive in their life’s experience, they chose a potato, wrote on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of their bags were quite heavy.
They were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work.
The hassle of lugging this around with them made it clear what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.
Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty smelly slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain, resentment and heavy negativity!
Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and it clearly is for ourselves!
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT FOR US TO FORGIVE OTHERS?
Some reasons include:
- Confusion / misunderstanding
The underlying reason WE DON’T FORGIVE behind all others is PRIDE
- It’s ultimately our pride which makes it difficult for us to forgive the next person.
- Closely related to Pride is a Sense of Self-Importance.
- The Modern world has ensured that people develop a sense of self-importance. While this may be necessary to a certain extent, they’ve taken it to the max and now we find that people have become self-centred and have the tendency to believe that they are over important.
- If someone believes that they are the most important, then they will never be able to accept that someone else has done something to harm them.
- Thus, they will never be able to forgive that person or overlook what they’ve done, because this would injure their self-pride.
- Also closely related to this is a perceived sense of power.
- When we forget that Allah (swt) only has all power and we start thinking that we have power, for whatever reason, then we also will never be able to forgive others.
- When we begin to think about things in terms of what will be best for everyone or what will please Allah (SWT), instead of thinking in terms of our own emotions, then it will become easier for us to forgive others and to let things go.
(May Allah Almighty make it easy for us all and save us from Pride and arrogance).
Musa ibne Imraan (alaihis salaam) said;
“Oh my Rabb! Who is the most respectable slave to you?”
Allah the Almighty and Majestic replied;
“He who forgives, despite having the power to avenge.”
“You should practise mercy and you will receive mercy. You should forgive others’ faults and you will receive Divine Forgiveness.”