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Kittygyal
08-23-2006, 01:17 PM
salam.


Forgiveness: A Gift to Ourselves


This is a story about a teacher who told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. The teacher suggested to her pupils that for every person they had refused to forgive in their life's experience, they were to take a potato, and write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag.


The teacher then told each of her students to carry this bag with them on their shoulders and on their backs everywhere they went for one week keeping the bag next to them at all times even beside their beds at night and by their desk throughout the school day, basically 24-hours a day.

Some of her students complained that the plastic bags were too heavy to lug around. The hassle of physically lugging these heavy plastic bags around with them made it clear to the students what their teacher was trying to convey to them about the value of friendship and forgiveness.

The students realized what a weight they were carrying spiritually. This is a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity. Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, but it clearly is for ourselves.

Remember what Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) teaches us in Surah Al- A'raf [7:199-200]:



"Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant (i.e. don't punish them). If a suggestion from Satan assails your mind, seek refuge with Allah; for He hears and knows (all things)."

In these ayahs Allah (SWT) comforts the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and directs his mind to three precepts:


1. to forgive injuries, insults, and persecution;
2. to continue to declare faith that was in him, and not only to declare it, but to act up to it in all his dealings with friends and foes and
3. to pay no attention to ignorant fools, who raised doubts or difficulties, hurled taunts or reproaches, or devised plots to defeat the truth: they were to be ignored and passed by, not to be engaged in fights and fruitless controversies, or conciliated by compromises.

Even a Prophet of Allah (SWT) is but human. He might think that revenge or retaliation, or a little tactful silence when evil stalks abroad, or compromised with ignorance, might be best for the cause. He is to reject such suggestions and seek refuge with Allah (Ta'ala).

Of all the things we can give other people in life, forgiveness is one of those that require the most effort. This phrase seems to make the process of forgiving easier for me: "To bear a grudge against someone is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat."

People say or do things often inadvertently and mostly out of personal insecurity or ignorance. You may be just the punching bag for the day. Maybe the other person is envious or afraid of you. Most of the time, these people have their own demons to grapple with.

Don't let their words and actions wear you down. They can only have a moment's effect on you. Then, depending on how you deal with the situation, they can continue to haunt you, or vanish like ashes in the wind. But only you can make that decision.


Discouraging and spiteful words and actions from other people can only have the desired effect if you want them to. Give yourself the pleasure of a free spirit.

Forgiveness is something we "give other people", but forgiveness, really, is a gift to ourselves. When we wreak vengeance on people whom we think have done us an injustice, we invariably end up bitter and resentful.

Worse still, if our vindictiveness provokes retaliation, we might start a cycle of vengeance. And when you bear hatred within your heart, what you're essentially doing is destroying your own state of mind and potential to be happy.

Each day yields opportunities for us to let go of or hold on to grudges, although the severity of each situation may vary. Are you better off holding on to them, or letting go?

P.S why doesn't God forgave me and make my life easier for me? what have i done?! :cry:

w.salam
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silent mujaheda
08-23-2006, 01:18 PM
well said!
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Eric H
08-23-2006, 07:32 PM
greetings in peace Kittygyal;

A very good post, well said, and your message can travel between people of all faiths

I feel that each one of us hopes and prays that God will forgive us for sinning against him.

I feel we can try and understand how God forgives by striving to forgive others.

In the spirit of praying for peace

Eric
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
08-23-2006, 07:35 PM
Beautiful post, Mashallah :)
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Fishman
08-23-2006, 07:40 PM
Originally Posted by Kittygyal

P.S why doesn't God forgave me and make my life easier for me? what have i done?! :cry:

w.salam
:sl:
What you are going through isn't a punishment, it's a test! What have you done to deserve this, you say? You have become close to your Rabb, and He wants to bring you closer!
:w:
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snakelegs
08-23-2006, 09:39 PM
kittygyal,
have you forgiven yourself? often it is much easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves. we are often our worst critics and judges.
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Eric H
08-24-2006, 01:36 AM
Greetings in peace snakelegs,

Very wise words, but hard to follow. Being able to forgive ourselves can often be one of the toughest things to do because we live with ourselves and our own thoughts pretty much 24 / 7.

A lady I know had been married for thirty years and her husband went off and had an affair with a woman half his age. He moved in with his new lover and she became pregnant, but she miscarried and the baby died.

Shortly after the baby’s death she moved away and left him. The husband went back to his wife and tried to make up, but his wife would not have him back. The husband tried talking to his grown up son, but the son blamed him for braking up the family, and upsetting his mother. The son wanted nothing to do with his father.

The father was left with nothing and could not live with his own guilt, he committed suicide a few days later.

The son blamed himself for his fathers death and gave up on life, he tried committing suicide but was not successful. He has been living with his own guilt and could not forgive himself. He lost his job and has been living with severe depression for the last year and has not been able to work since.

If the son had been able to forgive his father, and later the father committed suicide, the son would not have the guilt of his father’s death hanging over him.

I have seen the power of forgiveness a number of times in my life, it can make the difference between life and death.

I have seen the affect first hand that not being able to forgive can destroy life and lead to death.

The Bible describes not being able to forgive as ‘heaping burning coal on your head’ it can lead to a painful death.

In the spirit of praying for forgiveness for ourselves and others.

Eric
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snakelegs
08-24-2006, 01:42 AM
i agree.
sometimes it seems impossible - there is so much pain and suffering in the world. one gets angry at others and sometimes, even at god because it seems like he is not listening to our prayers. it takes great strength and is not always possible. but when you can, it is you who is the main beneficiary.
i wish i had been able to fully forgive my mother before she died.
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Eric H
08-25-2006, 10:18 AM
Greetings in peace snakelegs;

. one gets angry at others and sometimes, even at god because it seems like he is not listening to our prayers.
I believe that God has given us the freedom to love one another, but this freedom to love also gives each one of us the freedom to kill. In many ways God seems impotent in this world, he could intervene at every point of evil but how would we ever learn our lessons in life.

The only thing that makes any sense to me, is that we have a short time on this earth followed by an eternal afterlife with God. A human judge and jury can never know fully the true circumstances and motivation behind a crime, but God will know. I believe in a righteous merciful and loving God whose justice will be fair to all people. I feel that the true victims of oppression and injustice will find an easier path to salvation.

it takes great strength and is not always possible. but when you can, it is you who is the main beneficiary.
We often feel a matter of principle and hang onto our feelings of righteousness, we might forgive someone if they came up to us first and said sorry. But all the time we cannot forgive we carry a great burden and that person owns our emotions.

i wish i had been able to fully forgive my mother before she died.
I believe that if you can make that prayer now, it will be heard.

In the spirit of seeking forgiveness,

Eric
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Kittygyal
08-27-2006, 05:54 PM
Originally Posted by Eric H
greetings in peace Kittygyal;

A very good post, well said, and your message can travel between people of all faiths

I feel that each one of us hopes and prays that God will forgive us for sinning against him.

I feel we can try and understand how God forgives by striving to forgive others.

In the spirit of praying for peace

Eric

salam.
very true.
w.salam
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snakelegs
08-27-2006, 07:01 PM
Originally Posted by Eric H

I believe that if you can make that prayer now, it will be heard.

In the spirit of seeking forgiveness,

Eric
thanks for your comments.
yes, i have done that, but i wish i could've forgiven her before she died - it would have meant so much to her and been the biggest gift i could have given her.
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duskiness
08-27-2006, 08:34 PM
Originally Posted by Eric H
Being able to forgive ourselves can often be one of the toughest things to do because we live with ourselves and our own thoughts pretty much 24 / 7.
so true...
My mother is carring her "guilt" for 20 years now...she says she did support her mum (my grandma) the way she should when granny was dying from cancer. She says nothing more about it. And very rarely.
But i know it's somewhere inside her.
When i had cancer she was always there for me. i hope that in the way she will pay her "debt" and be free.
But it seems it did help.
I wish i could help her, but i have no idea how...

Kittygyal - thats really a good thread :)
n.
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therebbe
08-28-2006, 07:50 PM
nice post
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