“Can you forgive?” by Reva Lachica Moore

Have you hurt someone unknowingly? Or has another person hurt you? Hurt feelings come in many forms and are inflected through many ways. And with different intensities. Simple things such as: a casual and tactless comment, a hurtful snicker, and a certain way you look at the other person—could cause a hurt. A slight shaking of the head, a raised voice, an unfriendly tone, a twisting of the lips, or a roll of the eyes—could inflict a deep hurt on someone. And the worst part is, sometimes you could hurt someone without even knowing it.

A friend told about an ill comment made by someone many years ago, which today still triggers the same resentment for the person during certain times.

A hurt inflicted on someone is worse when the person concerned overhears the hurting words. Where I worked many years ago, it was a normal pastime for most of the workers to talk badly about other workers who weren’t present around the chitchat table. They would criticize everyone, from the boss to the lowest person on the totem pole.

But one afternoon something awful happened. It was gossip session as usual. The workers in the break room started talking about everybody. Unbeknownst to them, someone forgot to turn off the two-way radio, and the people they talked about in the next building heard the ‘put-downs’ and gossips. Needless to say, many people became very angry that day.

(NOTE: A reminder…when using your cell phone to leave a message, make sure that your phone is off before you start talking about something else. A friend received a recorded message, and the caller probably thought she had ended the call, and started talking badly about the person she had called and everything was recorded. But best not to talk badly about people.)

There are “simple” hurts and there are also very “deep” hurts. Hurts that could break relationships and cause despair resulting to illnesses. When people are hurt, they sometimes resort to an “eye-for-an-eye” fight, or dissolution of marriage or friendships, and even lawsuits.

Can you forgive someone who had hurt you? Or can you ask for forgiveness from those whom you have hurt?

Several years ago, Alberto Canete (a former adopted minister) sent me a story about his friend, Robert. Robert had cancer of the esophagus and lay dying at the hospital. And due to his grim prognosis, he asked for anointing. Two days later, unable to speak he pointed to a piece of paper and made a sign asking for a pen. With much difficulty, Robert wrote on the paper, “Please call my first wife and our children and the rest of my immediate family.” He also asked for the woman whom he left his wife for, and whom he also have children with.

The person attending to Robert immediately informed those concerned about his request and the following day, everyone came. With his family standing around him, Robert asked for paper and pen again. Then he wrote, “I want to die with peace of mind, so please forgive me.” This simple statement was written for what seemed like the longest 30 minutes due to his ailing condition. As he wrote, there was not a dry eye in the room. Everyone sobbed and wiped tears. Immediately, years of deep resentment, bitterness, and emotional distress started to vanish from those around him. They all assured Robert of their forgiveness. His first wife and his mistress embraced and asked for forgiveness, and for the first time they talked to each other.

Robert passed away a few hours later, but he died peacefully with forgiveness from God and forgiveness from his loved ones with the hope of resurrection on that grand day.

Matthew 6: 14….“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”