“To err is human to forgive divine” - Alexander Pope’s words from An Essay on Criticism. True in every sense but one. Why can’t emulate the attributes of the Divine? In fact we find within us many of the attributes of the Divine and forgiveness is certainly one of them. However, what usually manifests among us humans are not the Divine attributes that raise us to high stations but rather degrading states of blameworthy actions that debase us.
Rather than Generosity we commonly find Avarice and Greed. In place of Justice we often find Inequity. Instead of Truth we hear Lies. Rather than Forgiveness we find Blame. And while all of these rarely found attributes in humans are mercies on to themselves, I think the greatest of all divine attributes missing from our human discourse is Forgiveness.
To forgive someone for a slight, trespass, injustice or any wrong perpetrated against the wronged would place that person in a very high station indeed. It is difficult to act accordingly when indignation takes hold of one’s heart. However we do need to remember that to show forgiveness is a great act of mercy. And if we desire that mercy be shown to us, we must act accordingly.
Need I remind, as the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said in an amazing tradition – “Those who are merciful will have mercy shown to them by the Most Merciful. Show mercy to those who are on Earth and the One who is in heaven will have mercy on you”.
Forgiveness is an overarching act of mercy in that in spite of the wrong perpetrated, the forgiver can still allow the one seeking forgiveness absolution. If we find it difficult to forgive others, maybe its because we cannot forgive ourselves or possibly that we have never sought out forgiveness so that we may taste its sweetness and desire it for others as well. That would be the ideal, however most often than not, forgiveness only comes about through a sincere beseeching of the one wronged by the one who did wrong.
In this way, the forgiver can see that the who committed the transgression is sincere in having forgiveness shown, then a compassion in the heart can arise that would allow the one wronged to even consider forgiving.
Now think of yourselves. Right now. Can you forgive? Have you ever sought out the Mercy of Forgiveness? Have you ever felt remorse for something that you did? Did you turn to the one who you might have slighted and asked for forgiveness? Did you get it? How did you know? How did it feel?
I know, as humans, we have transgressed our selves to no end. We have transgressed against the Earth in unimaginable ways. And we have slighted our Merciful Sustainer in ways that would shake the very firmament of our existence if we understood the gravity of our slights.
I want to be shown the Mercy of Forgiveness from the Most Merciful for what I have done. And if it means that it could only come by The Forgiver to have mercy on every single one of us inclusively then I would wish for everyone alive today and for everyone whoever lived and for everyone who will live in days to come to be forgiven so that I may be so as well. I hope that you, my dear reader, can find such mercy in your heart to hope for the same.
P.S. And so concludes the 10 days of Mercy. We move now into the the 10 days of Forgiveness. Its now time to get to work.