Its okay not to forgive. There I have said it. Holier than thou Christians shoot me all you want.
After my open letter to my evil ex-mother in law Febbie two weeks ago, I had a lot of people write to me, some were telling me I had to forgive her so I can be at ‘peace’ whatever that means.
I remember when I launched my charity JAW two years ago, one speaker had the audicity to take the opportunity to tell all victims of abuse to forgive. She chose to intimidate abuse victims telling them it was in their best interest to ‘let go and forgive’. That was one of the most uncomfortable speeches I have ever heard to date.
I do not understand black people’s obsession with forgiveness. This is the most misused word in a black man’s world. They act like they were born with the word ‘forgiver’ engraved on their foreheads. I hate that word. I hate it, because it has been shoved down my throat by all sorts of religious maniacs who quote the bible they can’t even understand.
I hate that word because it is one of the main reasons why vile abusers get away with evil. Because in church their victims are always being told by pastors to ‘forgive’. In African churches, there is no such thing as justice. If you report abuse to a church leader you are told to pray and forgive. So of course in that environment, abuse thrives.
I grew up being forcefully fed the word ‘FORGIVE’. When someone abuses you, you are told somehow the solution lies in forgiveness. What a lie! It doesn’t and it never will. I learnt that if there is anything that gave me a heavy heart and took away my joy, it was forgiving people who didn’t deserve it. It gave them the authority to even extend their meanness.
Forgiving a person who has abused you and is not even sorry is in and of itself abuse. I hate this African culture that puts forgiveness on a pedestal it doesn’t deserve. I got to a point where I said to myself I am done forgiving. This is when I started standing up to my abusers, one by one. I was done being the bigger person. I was always the “forgiving one” and it destroyed me inside. Not once has being the bigger person ever helped me in any way on my journey.
God gave me the emotion of anger for a reason, and I intend to have the freedom to use that emotion without being threatened. I will be angry when I want to be angry. I will roar like a lioness in my anger, and no human being has the right to tell me how not to be angry. In church, I was always being taught that ‘unforgiveness destroys you bla bla bla’, ‘unforgiveness is a disease bla bla bla’, ‘unforgiveness gives you a heavy heart bla bla bla’, so I loved and loved and loved the people who were hurting me until they had me in the palm of their hands. That is what I got for being the bigger person. It suppressed my freedom of expression. It’s not like anyone gets brownie points for being the bigger person in life. For me the more I was the bigger person the more I was taken advantage of.
I would rather be like God. I will never forgive anyone who is not sorry. Never. I will forgive just the way God does it, when you repent, you shall surely be forgiven. I cannot possibly be holier than God, by forgiving people who have not asked for forgiveness.
I am sick and tired at being held at gunpoint about forgiveness, being threatened that if I don’t forgive I will not be free or happy. I would rather have the so called ‘heavy heart’ of not forgiving thank you very much. It is way better than what I felt when I was always the bigger person. At least it gives me the freedom of being in control of my own emotions.
I have had fake inspirational quotes like ‘To err is human, to forgive is divine’ sent to me with all the manipulation that comes with it. Those little quotes works when someone has stolen your cookies and drank your milk. Yes, I need that quote when my husband leaves the toilet seat up or his socks on the kitchen floor. I have to be divine and forgive. But do not ever throw such quotes at me when it’s about abuse.
I don’t know why Africans like to skip the important detail that a person actually has to apologise and be sorry to be forgiven. They just love the jump to the forgiviness part. Hypocrites!
I believe it is wicked to tell a victim of abuse that they need to forgive their abuser. I think it’s evil to make a victim of abuse feel guilty for not forgiving their offender. I once had a rape victim write to me that she had forgiven her rapist because that is what her pastor told her to do. That made me so angry. No woman, man or child should ever be forced into forgiving someone who’s hurt them. It’s evil.
Forgiveness is a personal choice that one has to decide on. It may take years to forgive. It may take days. It may take weeks. It may never even happen, especially if the offender never repents. Those who choose not to forgive are not in any bondage as widely assumed. It doesn’t take away their happiness or quality of life. It doesn’t affect their health either. It is their freedom to not let the person who hurt them get away with it. It’s their right to keep that person hostage in their spirit. Even when Abel lay dead on the ground, his blood chose to cry out to God about the injustice of his brother Cain.
I am not above God to forgive a non-repentant person. It doesn’t make me bitter. It simply makes me human.
If you were abused, and choose not to forgive, own that emotion. Don’t ever feel guilty that you haven’t forgiven. It is okay not to forgive. If you ask me, forgiveness is way overrated, by black people of course. There, Jean has said it.