We must realise that persecution is the first law of society because it is always easier to suppress criticism than to meet it. When we judge or criticise another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical. Any person can criticise, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. How much easier is it to be critical than to be correct, because criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from our own.
What does it mean to forgive? Forgiveness = Peace + Love + joy
Forgiveness means you are given another chance to make a new beginning (Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu).
Forgiveness is not an occasional act it is a constant attitude (Martin Luther King Jr)
Forgiveness is a silent, intimate teacher. She is always ready to bring the lessons we need whether or not we want to learn. It is the mother who soothes the rough edges of our lives, enabling the willing heart and mind to surrender – the path to peace. It does not have to make sense and we don’t have to want to do it. When we have the forgiving thoughts about anyone or anything, it blocks the positive flow of good into our lives. Forgiveness increases our chances to receive without doing anything.
Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield ourselves to another’s control….. to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare (Lance Morrow)
As Madiba explained; “I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in a mental prison”
As humans, we have one time or another hurt or harmed someone (physically, emotionally, psychologically or in words); some knowingly and some unknowingly. As humans, we have seeked God’s forgiveness for our actions. Because God is love, because God is truth, and because God is power, we seek HIS love, HIS truth and HIS power. How then can we judge the creation without judging the creator? In constant communication with God, our mind is listening to the voice of God that is calm, always at rest, and wholly certain. Therefore either God is the mind with which we think or our ego is the mind with which we think. We have no cause to anger or for fear, for God surrounds us. And in every need that we perceive, HIS grace suffices us. We must remember that all things are lessons that God would have us to learn. There is nothing to be healed, only God to be revealed. Let us ask the peace of God be revealed in our mind, hearts and the choices we make, for there is nothing to be healed only God to be revealed.
There are many ways that we have hurt and harmed others, have betrayed or abandoned them, caused them suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, out of our pain, fear, anger and confusion. Let us remember and visualise the ways we have hurt others. See the pain we have caused out of our own fear and confusion. Feel our own sorrow and regret. Sense that finally we can release the burden and ask for forgiveness (Jack Kornfield).
Today, we should no longer see Yahya Jammeh or those who encouraged or enabled him through the lens of pain, nor do we see the choices he and his followers made as a source of our pain. We choose to see him as a man, just like us. Most days, we felt used, abused victimised and unworthy. Just like us, he made choices. Just like us he will suffer from feelings of guilt, shame and anger. He will also have his share of heartbreak and will want to experience the forgiving power of the love. And just like us, he will want to know that he is forgiven. The rest, God will deal with.
Today, as we seek for truth, reconciliation, reconstruction and healing, let us ask for and open ourselves to experience the presence of God in our minds, our hearts and every other aspect of our lives. For the blessings of this let us express gratitude in order that we can heal. The route to healing and reconciliation will require us to establishing the truth and taking the next steps that leads to forgiveness and reconciliation - a necessary exercise for Gambians to confront their past, come to terms with their past on a morally accepted basis to advance the cause of reconciliation.
“Please bear with me as more pondering and reflections download from within”