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Forgive or Forget You!

We are taught from the cradle to forgive and forget. If you’ve every been trapped between the pews on a Sunday wearing a too tight dress and uncomfortable shoes, then you know that the good book says to turn the other cheek.  The ability to forgive is a virtue and a gift.  For many it doesn’t come naturally. It certainly doesn’t for me.  If someone hurts me I sit on the offense for weeks. I stew and create elaborate plans for retribution and revenge. Usually after I’ve completed plotting that person’s punishment my Christian self belatedly kicks in. I let the offender off with a warning but make it clear that the strike against them counts. Watch it! I’ve got my eyes on you. I forgive but the forgetting part is challenging for me. The scripture, ‘forgive as God forgave you’ would be easier to apply if it wasn’t for my upbringing.

My mother is an A+ woman but some die-hard Christians would question her parenting.  If anyone considered hurting my sister and I they understood that they did so at their own risk.  We were taught that forgiveness wasn’t a guarantee. It was conditional and was based on a brief list:

  • How bad was the offense?
  • Were they sorry for their crime?
  • How many times had they made the same bullshit mistake?
  • Was the offense intentional and premeditated to cause harm or pain?
  • Should they have known better but didn’t do so because they didn’t give a Sh%t?
  • Were they considered thoughtless knuckleheads therefore generally stupid as a norm?

This list was reviewed and gauged before a decision was reached. Some people got off with a warning while others were permanently cut off, dissed and dismissed. No one messed with us as individuals without having to pay the cost.  Those who complained that we were too harsh, unforgiving and mean got my mother’s famous forgiveness quote which was this: ‘Forgiveness is easy for the offender. When you hurt someone it’s in the perpetrators best interest to forget.  It isn’t the person that shits on the street that remembers, it’s the person who steps in it.’

Mom’s lesson was never to do anything that required forgiveness unless we intentionally meant to offend.  But I know as human beings we all make mistakes, have errors in judgment and lose our way. As I get older, I realize that if I want forgiveness when I mess up then I have to extend moments of grace. Holding a grudge charges too much emotional rent. Forgiveness can uplift and lighten the load on our soul.  But my mother was right about one thing, some things can be forgiven and some people’s transgressions against you just can’t be overlooked. In the cases when forgiveness isn’t possible my advice is to wipe away shitty people from your life and from your shoes.

Have you had to use wipes to clear away a shitty person from your life?



About the Author

Stephanie Small, Sistah & Superhero! Author, Educator, Personal Growth Coach & wannabe Superhero! Author of Black Girl's Guide to Winning at Love & Life! (Available on Amazon.com, B&N and Kobo)

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