I think we should change the wordage of forgiveness. Many people have the idea that the definition of “to forgive” means to put yourself into that persons place, and try to understand why they did what they did. And this is a correct definition. But there is also another definition, not allowing yourself to be a victim anymore, empowering yourself to not allow that person to control your thoughts and emotions.
Black slavery, the Native Americans, the Jews, the Syrians, and so many many more, what do these people have in common? They have been controlled by another race or people, and a true genocide was brought upon them.
The whites today say that we should move on, and that slavery was a long time ago. They say it is not their place to apologize, nor should the blacks of today feel enraged by the atrocities brought upon their families. Why not? No one blinks an eye when someone apologizes to the Jews for the things that happened to them! Honestly, black atrocities did not begin to end (and still have not truly ended) until the 1960’s! They were not allowed to vote, or sit anywhere they wanted, or share a normal bathroom, or even just simply speak to a white person, just because! What was happening in Nazi Germany in the 30’s and 40’s to the Jews, being forced out of homes, not being allowed to shop in stores, or own stores, or whatever, was STILL being done to the blacks in the United States in the 1960’s. So why can’t we apologize to them for that? Why cannot I say to a friend of mine, “I am sorry for the way your people were treated in a certain time, I promise you, and that you will never get the same type of treatment from me?”
Another case in point, women are often reminded of the phrase “rape culture”. That if we, as women, look a certain way, dress a certain way, or say certain words, we are the ones “asking for it”. Even many of us women unconsciously think that way. For example, many years ago, I was taking care of a 16 year old. This was back when I was married, and this girl would come out of her room with a skirt and blouse on. No problem, right? Wrong, she had nothing on underneath, and they were see through. My husband would sit there staring at her in shock, and she would get mad at him for staring, and then would get mad at me when I would tell her she needed to put proper clothes on. I told her she was asking for the wrong attention. I NEVER said she was “asking for it” just the wrong attention. But she took it to mean that I was saying she was asking for it. She said that everyone needed to just simply not look at her. It does not matter whether a girl or woman is walking down the street buck naked, or covered head to foot in a burqa or some other type of clothing. Whether she is Muslim, Jewish, Amish, or whatever, she is to be RESPECTED, not treated worse than a farmer treats his cattle.
As a people, as human beings, we need to stop being victims! We need to stand up and say we refuse to allow others to tell us how to think and feel. If we need to forgive someone, as in the sense of getting on with our lives, and not allowing a black cloud of apathy to live within our soul, then that is what we need to do. We do not need to put ourselves in their position, or their thought process, we simply need to move past the control they had over us at one point, and have control over ourselves, otherwise they have won, and they control our very being, until we died, even long after THEY have died.
Does there need to be a true atonement from the perpetrator, for there to be forgiveness? That is the question all of us need to ask of ourselves. Are we willing to forgive the sin, or the person? Are we doing this to show others how much bigger of a person we are, or are we doing it to heal our souls? This is a question we can only ask ourselves, no one else. No one knows our emotions, or our deepest thoughts. Who do we want to be as we grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually?