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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

To forgive means to give someone your deepest understanding

Forgiveness means to accept people for who they are. Irrespective of their irrationality, of their attitude towards you and of their actions.

Some years ago, I took a business associate to task. He supplied us a branded computer which was faulty. Those were early days of automation in the world. And buying the machine was a big decision for me and my Firm. When it turned out to be faulty, and the machine could not be fixed by my associate’s service team, I threw a fit. I threatened to take him to court and I called him names. I finally said, in a bout of rage, ‘‘At this rate your Firm will have to close down’’. The business associate pleaded for time to fix the nagging problem and said he would send me a spare machine to compensate for the downtime this fix would entail. He said, “Things have been going wrong in the business already AVIS. Please don’t curse me. I seek your forgiveness. This seems to be a manufacturing defect. I have to go back to the manufacturer and have this machine replaced.” I refused to let go. And must have held the man and his hostage for weeks before the machine was replaced at no extra cost.

Several months after this happened, the business associate called me over to his office. And invited me to talk to his small team on how a service business could build a reputation (that was the line of consulting we were in at that time). As I went along and addressed his team, I felt, at that time, that I had been ‘magnanimous’ in forgiving him. He had done wrong. I had demanded he correct the situation. He did. So, I had forgiven him! Sounds logical, doesn’t it?

When I look back at the entire episode now, I feel so stupid. Contrary to what I had thought then, it was my associate who had forgiven me in inviting me over to talk to his team. I, on the contrary, had been irrational and judgmental in my reaction. At no point had my associate failed me. The machine he delivered genuinely had a manufacturing defect. And he did what he could do best in that situation__which was to be available and ensure a replacement was delivered. I would perhaps have handled such a situation far more maturely today without affecting the self-esteem of the supplier.

I have learned from Life that nobody is bad. Nobody is out to fix anyone, least of all you! People do what they do because they think they are right in doing so. Or they think if they didn’t do so, something grave is going to happen to them. Or if they didn’t do what they are doing, they may not get what they expect from you. All irrational behavior by someone then is a manifestation of what they are thinking, which again is a reflection of the time that they are going through. Such behavior needs to be responded with compassion not hatred. These people need your understanding. They need your forgiveness, not your curse.

To truly forgive means to give someone your deepest understanding. It means to let go of the need to judge, opine, analyze or justify and to simply accept the diversity in human Life. It also means to appreciate that people will think different, behave different from you, because they are different from you!  And yet there is no difference between us. Because each of us is powered by the same Life-giving source! Which is why you must learn to forgive. This simple learning can make your Life so beautiful, so blissful!

So, who are you going to forgive today?

1 comment:

  1. Yes. Keep forgiving and the other person will continue to hurt you again and again. What a self-hurt-inflicting strategy!