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Why Should We Forgive Others - Essay Example

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Different religions in the world teach on the aspect of religion, with different definitions of what is forgiveness. Forgiveness generally means someone letting go negative thoughts for wrongs done for the purpose of reconciliation…
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Why Should We Forgive Others? Different religions in the world teach on the aspect of religion, with different definitions ofwhat is forgiveness. Forgiveness generally means someone letting go negative thoughts for wrongs done for the purpose of reconciliation. In Christianity which is a western religion, teaching about forgiveness takes a very central role in the spiritual life of the Christian adherent. The teaching is that, if we expect God to forgive us, we must in turn forgive our fellow man when they wrong us. This is best expressed in what is known as the Lord’s Prayer in Mathew 6:9-13 where the Christian petitions God to forgive him just as they forgive others. This is as a precondition that if we expect God to forgive us, we have a part to play in forgiving others as it is narrated in Mathew 6:15. We also find the example of a Christian who practiced forgiveness during the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:60 where Stephen prayed and said ‘lay not this sin to their charge’, words almost similar to the ones uttered by Jesus Christ at His crucifixion, ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’, speaking about His crucifiers, yet He had committed no sin, Luke 23:34. This shows that a Christian who forgives is following the example of the author of Christianity, Jesus Christ. The Bible also teaches about turning your other cheek and giving your coat as well to someone who takes your cloak as it continues to express the virtue of forgiveness, Luke 6: 27-31. The Bible also talks about God’s demonstration of love in that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world while man was still a sinner (Bash, 2007). This is the Christian type of the perfect type of forgiveness that believers should portray, that which someone is supposed to offer not because you are requested but because not forgiving goes against the will of God. It is a type of forgiveness where someone is ready to pay a sacrifice to restore peace and fellowship with the other person, following the example of Christianity’s model, Jesus Christ. While forgiveness is not an easy choice, especially when we have been falsely accused or wronged, Christian teaching shows then that it is driven by the Christians desire to be obedient to God. This s important because it is sometimes difficult to forgive but, the Christian faith teaches that what is impossible to man is possible with God, implying that the Christian can draw strength from God so as to forgive. To the Christian then, forgiveness is important because, it is a considered as a spiritual principle that will trigger the forgiveness of God when the Christian will go against the will of God. To the person who forgives, it releases them from the grip of sin, since failure to forgive is considered as sin. That is why Jesus said that people should forgive those who wrong them seventy times seven times daily, so that we do not harbor sin in our lives, Math 18:22. Sikhism which is an eastern religion also has extensive teachings about forgiveness. It teaches that forgiveness is an antidote for anger or a way to remove anger. It teaches that forgiveness is triggered by compassion towards the person who has wronged you. The forgiveness act is taught by the Sikhism religion to be divinely inspired but not the work or the result of human effort. If it was by personal effort, the Sikhs believe, it would bring about pride which would hamper spiritual progress (Morrison and Singh, 2007). The teachings continue that anger and forgiveness are opposites which cannot dwell in a person together at any given time. Anger they believe, is the accumulation of unfulfilled desire, explaining that when someone does what we want, we have feelings of love for them while if they do not, we have feelings of anger towards them. This can make our hearts angry, bitter or offended, but when someone learns to meditate on the teachings of Sikhism, the hurt ego and anger are naturally changed to exhibit compassion and forgiveness (Morrison and Singh, 2007). Some key verses in the Guru Granth Sahib the scriptures of the Sikh religion portray some teachings and believes about forgiveness, ‘to practice forgiveness is fasting, good conduct and contentment’- Guru Arjan Dev, page 223. Another states that ‘where there is forgiveness, there God resides’- Kabir, page 137. Another verse states, ‘dispelled is anger as forgiveness is grasped- (Guru Amar Das, page 233). In my opinion, the teachings of most eastern religions, Sikhism included seems to lean more on psychological explanations as they teach about why people should forgive others while western religions like Christianity, Judaism and others relate forgiveness to moral reasons. However, all the religions see forgiveness as vital in creating peace among people. References Bash, A. (2007). Forgiveness and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McCullough, M. E., Pargament, K. I. and Thoresen, C. E. (2001). Forgiveness: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York. Guilford Press Morrison, D and Singh, A. (2007). Forgiveness in Different Religions. Retrieved on June 28, 2012 from: http://nexusnovel.wordpress.com/2007/01/03/forgiveness-in-different-religions/ Read More
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