When I finished my degree way back in 1973, I looked up for a Post Graduate course that would fly me straight to US. Getting into US those days, for an Indian was almost as difficult as getting to Moon. After a thorough study of the PG courses available at that time, I zeroed in on a course called M.Sc ( Speech & Hearing).
On national level only 3 seats were available. I applied and I was fortunate to get one ! I was called for interview in Mysore and got selected in it too!.I was so excited .But,before my selection order, the Dean of the Institute called me to his cabin and showed me a telegram. The telegram read “Please do not admit my son —- “
The telegram was from none other than my own father asking the Dean not to admit me ! You can imagine the kind of fury I would have had on my father ! ‘Oh,Dad !You have shattered all my dreams of foreign assignment !’I was fuming inside. I was very angry towards my father for what he had done to me. Later I understood my father’s reasoning behind sending such a telegram. While my dream was for US assignment, my dad’s dream for me was nothing less than IAS,commanding a District like a ‘Raja’ !
So ultimately it turned out to be a clash of dreams.But I was deeply hurt by my father’s telegram. I thought my Dad had spoiled my US dreams and could n’t forgive his action . For long I was harbouring bitterness towards my father for his unforgivable action. Whenever I thought about that incident, the bitterness in my heart would swell up and swallow me. I would plunge into a mood of depression and despair.
Forgiveness ! What ?
One day I just happened to attend an interesting session on ‘Forgiveness’,how to do it and why to do it. All about ‘forgiveness’was covered in that session.The implications of ‘unforgiveness’ on one’s physiology and psychology was also stressed in it. I realized that by not forgiving anyone, the ‘offender’is not the loser in any way. In fact, I am the loser, losing my peace and my sleep brooding over the matter.I may think that I am punishing the offender by holding him in my mental prison. But ,in fact I was punishing myself !
‘Unforgiveness’ and the related bitterness results in impaired physiological and psychological functions as well. Some of these points impacted me for the simple reason that I need to forgive because it benefits me ! However,on second thoughts, I felt that the motivating factor in such an advice is quite selfish . That quite did n’t click with me.
The King’s Loan !
At the end of the session, the Pastor conducting the seminar gave me another irrefutable reason for ‘forgiving’. He narrated the story of a King who lent 10,000 talents(a kind of money) to his servant. When the time for repayment fell due, the King demanded the money back from him.The poor servant could not repay .So he fell on the King’s feet,explained his position and pleaded for time, as he had nothing in hand to repay. The King was moved by the plea and decided to let him off. Now the same servant had lent 100 talents to a poor neighbour who could not repay it.The servant demanded repayment of the loan.The neighbour was not in a position to repay.
So he pleaded inability and asked the servant for time to repay. But the servant who got a favour from the King ,now was quite unwilling to let the borrower off.He started threatening him with dire consequences if he does not repay. When the King came to know his servant’s attitude, he got angry , called him and and told him’ Did I not let you off your 1o,ooo talents debt? Then why are you not letting off your poor borrower just 100 talents? ‘The King was furious over this and put his servant in jail as punishment.
Forgive,as you have been forgiven !
The Pastor closed the story with the conclusion.’ As God has forgiven all our major trespasses, we need to forgive all others, for their minor trespasses.’ I further understood that’ forgiving’ is a not an option but a ‘command ‘from God ! That impressed me and I decided to forgive all my offenders one by one.
How to ‘forgive?
Now the question that arose was ‘how to forgive?’.I started the process,by drawing out a list of my offenders to be forgiven.The list starts with our immediate family members,may be Dad,Mom etc,followed by friends,relatives and acquaintances.Don’t forget to include your workplace offenders as well.The list shapes up automatically, as name pop up just like that. Then I prayed to God to give me the grace to forgive,recollect the incident or the word that hurt, with reference to each person and said ‘Lord, I forgive so and so for what he did to me. I forgive him as you have forgiven me for all my trespasses’.
Please remember that it’s not easy to forgive. I had a long list of my offenders and I kept on releasing forgiveness every night, to selected names.Now,how do you find out when your forgiveness is complete ? As you keep praying every night,you can feel the anger and fumes inside you slowly settling down. The time to stop praying for any offender, is the time when you feel at peace when you think of the person or incident.
Fruits of Forgiveness
Sure,it took a long time for me to clear my long list.But at the end,there was lasting peace and a snoring sleep which is all that any one would dream of in this worldly life ! Sleep and peace are not yet available in online shopping and will never be available in future ,as well !
And more than that, I had the feeling that,in forgiving others, I had obeyed God’s command,as well. Today when I think about my Dad’s hurting telegram,just a little smile appears on my lips. He wanted me to become IAS, I wanted me to fly to US, but God decided His way ! Neither my Dad’s wish nor my wish worked and God’s will prevailed as usual !
By: Sundar A.S