TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE DIVINE

  • TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE DIVINE

There is great truth in this common proverb. All human beings make mistakes and therefore we, as humans, should learn to be tolerant. To forgive our fellowmen for their mistakes is a godly virtue. Don’t we ourselves expect others to forgive us for our faults? Why should we not reciprocate and forgive them in return?

When someone does something wrong, our immediate desire is to see that he is punished. When children tell a lie, elders fly into a rage and slap them. if the peon in the office fails to bring a file to his boos on time he is threatened with dismissal. People fail to realize that they themselves are sometimes guilty of such petty wrongs. All this does not mean that we should connive at wrongs. All this does not mean that we should connive at wrong deeds. Our objective should be to reform and improve the person who has done wrong, and not to punish him. punishment is not the answer to the problem of wrongdoing; indeed, it often turns out to be worse than the disease, for the person who is punished feels humiliated and embittered and bears a grudge against the person who has punished him.

When some enraged Jews were about to stone a woman of ill reputation to death, Christ said to them; “let his who is without sin cast the first stone,” we have the right to demand punishment of wrong, not the wrongdoer. This is precisely the attitude that Gandhiji exhorted all Indians to adopt towards the British.

When a wrongdoer is forgiven for his fault, especially when he does not expect forgiveness he may be moved by the magnanimous act of forgiveness, may repent for his wrongdoing and resolve not to do any wrong again. He is likely to reform. Forgiveness thus leads to repentance, and sincere repentance reforms the wrongdoer. That is why forgiveness is called divine. We should remember the other useful proverb: “To understand all is to forgive all.” we should try to understand why one does something wrong. Once we realize this, we are certain to take a sympathetic view and try to help and reform the person instead of just condemning and punishing him.

We will appreciate the necessity of forgiving if we bear in mind two things; firstly. All men without exception are likely to make mistakes or do wrong, and secondly, it is not our job to judge other people. As it is wisely said, “the judgement will come on the final day, and that,, too, from God.”

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