The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.– Mahatma Gandhi
This quote echoes my own feelings regarding forgiveness. I am happy to forgive people for their actions. I will do all I can to help them realise what they’ve done wrong, and how they can make up for their error. Forgiveness is held to be a good thing to do by most mental health experts for most things.
Certain transgressions are deemed to be different. For instance most experts would not encourage a person who was sexually abused to forgive the one who was their abuser and allow them back into their life. The safety of the victim should be paramount.
As a victim of child sexual abuse I didn’t think about these things. It’s only been in the years since as an adult that I’ve begun to think about these issues. The man who offended against me when I was quite young is dead now. I understand a little about why he may have felt the need to do what he did.
I certainly don’t think he did a good thing, and if things had been different, I believe he should have gone to jail for what he did. Death is the final thing in life though, and I’m satisfied that he can no longer harm anyone.
This man was living a sad life – he’d lost contact with his family for reasons unknown to me, and he relied on alcohol to help him through life to some extent. His life was certainly not a life anyone would wish for. But what happened to me wasn’t what anyone would wish for either.
Now I ask myself, do I forgive this man? I find I can’t actually say I would welcome him back into my life if he were still alive. But I can acknowledge that he was part of my learning about life, even though it took many years to learn the lessons of it.
I don’t know enough to know if people like this man can be rehabilitated and allowed back into the lives of vulnerable people. I hope that it is possible though, and if it is possible, then that rehabilitation should happen for the good of society, and for the good of the offender.
These are my thoughts, and I would love to read comments on this from other people.