On Friday in the new club I joined (not creative writing) we were talking about forgiveness. And I know what you’re thinking, this is NOT going to be a soppy little post about me going ‘Oh I’m so sorry for not updating, please forgive me!’, no it won’t. I am going to talk about forgiveness and hopefully give you something to talk about too. I am going to talk about what we discussed in the club.
The first topic was: is forgiveness a sign of weakness? In some cases, it is. For example, if someone (I will call her Ariea) breaks another person’s (I will call him Apollo) pencil and she is really sad about it, and is crying every day about how she broke Apollo’s pencil, as it was his only pencil he ever owned and was given to him as a present. The thing is, Apollo REALLY doesn’t care at all that Ariea broke his pencil. It was only a cheap pencil after all. After he sees Ariea weeping, he starts feeling really bad and does not want to be responsible for the eternal misery of Ariea. He just can’t take the questions that people will ask. ‘Why is Ariea crying?’ etc. So he forgives her, even though he didn’t care at all about the pencil. That could be weak because he didn’t want the burden of someone else’s sadness. He didn’t care about it at all. Is that weak to you?
But in other cases, forgiveness is a very hard and strong thing to do. Like if Apollo killed Ariea’s best friend, Carys, Ariea would be overcome with grief, whereas Apollo did not care one bit that he killed Carys. But after a while, Ariea decided it was time to move on, so she forgave Apollo for the murder. Since this is talking about taking someone’s LIFE, it’s a really hard thing to deal with and when Ariea apologised, she was ready to let go, which probably required immense mental strength and power. No, it definitely required immense mental strength and power. It is not easy to forgive a murderer for murdering someone you love. That probably made Apollo feel really bad. He killed Carys, hoping to make Ariea sad, but she forgave him and wanted to get on with life, so Apollo’s action came up to nothing. Forgiveness, in this case, was not weak.
Another thing we discussed was whether forgiveness was actually necessary (spelling mistake?). I think it definitely is sometimes, because you need to tell someone that you don’t have something against them for what they did. Let’s take the pencil example again, except this time Ariea is not so sad and Apollo cared about his pencil. So when Ariea broke it, Apollo was the one crying his eyes out. Later, Apollo forgives her (even though he may not actually believe it himself) and Ariea is happy, because she knows that Apollo is not going to hate her for breaking the pencil.
Sometimes it isn’t necessary. This time neither Apollo or Ariea cared about the broken pencil. Apollo forgives her for breaking it, even though he did not care about the pencil. Ariea is just like ‘Whatever.’ because she doesn’t care either. I don’t think it’s necessary then, because it achieves nothing and settles no disagreements or misery they had, because they didn’t care.
An extreme example is the Apollo killing Carys one. Ariea forgives, and it is a necessary thing for her, because she knows that now she can get on with life with more happiness, and for him, because he knows that Ariea isn’t out to get him. But it is not necessary in the ‘big picture’, because it does not bring back Carys from the dead: she has still been killed. Apollo will ALWAYS live with the burden of having killed her, and Ariea will ALWAYS live with the burden knowing her best friend has been killed and she can do nothing about it. But is it necessary in your opinion?
We can also think of the question ‘Do you have to forgive someone? When should you do it?’ I suppose what you want from forgiveness is if it makes everything back to the way it was. If Apollo forgives Ariea for breaking the pencil (this is the situation where Ariea is really sad), then it is almost back to the way it was. It’s only the pencil is still broken. If Apollo didn’t care about the pencil, then should he forgive her? Should anyone in that situation? I suppose it depends on the person forgiving Ariea. If Apollo was kind and only did the forgiving to make Ariea feel better, then he, in his mind, probably thought it was compulsory to forgive Ariea. If he was mean and cold-hearted, he would think he wouldn’t need to, because a) breaking a pencil is no big deal or b) he didn’t care about it and just wanted to see Ariea be sad.
Continuing with this example (but this time both of them have quite neutral feelings about the pencil, as in they still care, but only a normal amount. No crying or not caring), I will answer the second question, ‘When should you forgive?’. If Apollo was kind, he probably did it straight away. That is probably the right thing to do. But if he was not so kind, maybe he would only forgive her after she said sorry. But for such a small, insignificant (they could think it was the most important thing in the world but in the big picture, it is only a pencil- there are way more important things in life) event, people would not need to wait until after they’ve said sorry. Ariea probably said sorry as soon as she did it, but if he didn’t, it would be stupid for Apollo to wait until she did.
Now for a new example for answering these questions: the killing of Carys. So, does Ariea have to forgive Apollo? I don’t think she does. Killing is a TERRIBLE thing, whichever way you put it, and sometimes, you cannot forgive someone for doing it. From forgiving, you can’t bring them back, so what is the point? Apollo would not really care about it, he was the murderer after all. Ariea would have forgiven him, and maybe she would not believe it, but even by saying it she thought to herself ‘Does this mean I don’t care about Carys as much, if I have forgiven the guy that killed her?’.
Now, say she wanted to forgive him. Does he deserve it? When should she do it? I think Apollo would DEFINITELY needed to have said sorry, and done more than say sorry. Just one word isn’t enough for this event. But say he did say sorry, and really meant it; he felt terrible for doing it. Say he bought Ariea loads of chocolate and made her and him best friends and then they ended up really liking each other. Say he got her anything she wanted. He really wanted to make it up to her for killing Carys- he wanted to be what Carys was to her: Ariea’s best friend. Say he said sorry more times than he could count. I think then, Ariea should forgive him. It is obvious he really cares and feels bad about it, so he deserves it. Ariea only forgave him when he said sorry and she thought he deserved it. Then again, we are talking about murder, so Ariea may find it really hard to forgive. It is her own choice though, after all.
So, what are your thoughts on this? Is forgiveness a sign of weakness? Does forgiving someone mean you don’t really care about the event as much? Is forgiveness necessary? Do you have to forgive someone? When should you forgive them? Questions!
Sorry for not updating, but next I want to do a post about my favourite book covers (or just book covers), but this will require a lot of pictures, so it may take longer than usual. Then again, this post took me ages: I started yesterday.
PS. This post is one of my longest, just shorter than this one (which says there are like 1036 words, but there are actually 1423 words).
Your forgiving blogger, Jaz