‘Am on this land, I trouble no one;
My desire is to make no problem with no one;
…..Am a humble African….’ Culture
In comparing the killing of Allende to Bishop, Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes:
“The similarity is not diminished by the fact that one had been killed by a right wing force and the other by a force that claimed to be on the left. The day progressive forces justify with whatever arguments the use of the same infamous reactionary methods that’s the day – to put plainly – that we are all going to hell.”
It has become a common theme over the past thirty years or so that every year around March and October we are told to forgive those who have trespassed against us and to let go of whatever feelings that we may possess against whoever thinks that we do possess some form of emotion about them.
This practice has bothered me no end. I kept searching in my soul to find what really is the meaning of forgiveness and how does the issue of forgiveness arise in the first place? And why is it that we are being asked to forgive? Forgiveness for what?
Is forgiveness being used to mean that we must cease and desist from discussion and debate on a matter? Or is it that we are allowed to debate but not to express emotions one way or another. Does forgiveness amount to sweeping issues under the carpet? Or are we on the completely wrong track about this whole forgiveness business?
We all need to take a few steps back and re-examine what really is the meaning of forgiveness as it intended in its strictest sense and what are we being asked as a nation to do? Do we have the power?
The dictionary definition of forgiveness is: — “to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong): to stop blaming (someone)” — “to stop feeling anger about (something): to forgive someone for (something wrong)” — “to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)”
Let us begin by ruling out some possibilities. It seems to me that you
cannot forgive someone for doing something right. It also seems to me that you cannot forgive someone who did not do anything. Therefore for the question of forgiveness to arise someone must have done something wrong. Agreed?
In the event that you agree with this preposition then we have a basis for moving on. It seems to me that you must feel anger towards the person for the wrong that they had done. So forgiveness would require that you must stop feeling angry. So in preposition two, if that person does not anger you then you have no basis for forgiveness.
Once again if you agree we can move on to preposition three. Agreed?
You must no longer want payment for what is owed. This is where it gets interesting. Can you write off a debt that does not belong to you? Here is a simple scenario. Tom owes the RBTT bank $10,000. Can Scotia Bank forgive his debt to RBTT bank? The answer to this must be a resounding no.
In the words of the bible, can Matthew forgive Mark for something that Mark did to Luke? I don’t think so.
In Matthew 6: 14-15. 14. ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’
So your power of forgiveness is restricted to granting forgiveness against those who have sinned against you. It follows logically that you cannot grant forgiveness to those who have not sinned against you.
Applying all this to October 19, 1983 it follows that one has no power to forgive those who executed Maurice Bishop and others only Maurice Bishop and others can do that. But John also provides an olive branch.
In John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’
King Antiochus also grants advice for those seeking peace with their Lord.
Maccabees 6:22 ‘Sleep evades me and my heart is cowed by anxiety ………but now I recall how wrongly I acted in Jerusalem when I seized all the vessels of silver and gold there and ordered the extermination of the inhabitants of Judah for no reason at all. This I am convinced is why these misfortunes have overcome me, and why I am dying of melancholy in a foreign land.’
In conclusion I have one request. I humbly beg that those who are intent on befuddling this matter to cease and desist from asking us as a people to do something that is not within our power to do and to direct those who have done wrong and are in need of forgiveness to seek their forgiveness from the proper source.