Forgive Or Not Forgive?

By Kim Chham

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“Forgiveness practice can help you find meaning in life’s worst events and free the inner violence of your own rage.” – Dhamar Wisdom

Growing up as young child, my closest friend and most influential teacher was my great-grandmother. I called her ‘tourt’ or ‘ទួត’. ទួត practiced Buddhism. All my memories of her were around kindness, goodness and forgiveness. She was my role model and still has been. I don’t remember the details of what she taught me but I feel and remember that she taught me the most about life, how to live life of doing goods and to have a desire to fight for peace – for myself and for all.

When listening to Cheryl telling her story on Thursday, I thought: she and ទួត share a common belief. They had never met each other and grew up on the opposite sides of the world, in I believe complete different environments; but they both believe in forgiveness – in letting go the anger and rage within oneself to seek for peace and kindness. Cheryl’s perspective on dealing with such dramatic and traumatising experiences really resonated with me. I too, believe that forgiveness is a very important way of setting us free, and maybe others too.

I fully acknowledge that not everyone would agree with how I think of forgiveness, and I respect that. Forgiving is hard but so is not.

I also know that for me, like Cheryl, I need to forgive to find peace within myself. In order to forgive, I need to hear the whole story. Some of the stories might be difficult to hear but I know that I need to process the truth and then move on. I learn lessons a long the way of processing, then I take the pain and make it into growth.

While listening to Lou on Monday evening, I saw that same concept – forgiveness. If Lou hadn’t forgave himself for the crimes he committed, he wouldn’t be where he is now – a strong and compassionate man who is saving lives and allowing himself to grow to be a peacebuilder.

I believe that forgiveness holds so much power in this world. I am in no mean trying to convey that it should be done easily and without deep reflection. Just because I advocate for it, doesn’t mean that it works for everyone. I know it frees me, Cheryl and Lou, so I would encourage everyone to look into it, to see what it can do for them.

I know that as a peacebuilder that I am and will be, I see the value of introducing forgiveness to situations of conflict. Like building peace, forgiveness has to start with yourself and then you can extend it to others. I don’t believe it can be done in a reverse order. As the matter of fact, I also think that forgiveness belongs in the many tools that enable a person to achieve peace with themselves and their communities.

Feel free to explore your own way to forgiveness and take your time with it. However, I would recommend giving it a chance and not eliminate this concept from your life right away.

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