Forgiveness is separating an act from a person’s character. No body is inherently evil. No body is inherently good. “Bad” people do good things and “good” people do bad things. I realized a while ago that Hitler wasn’t purely evil. He had good intentions, he just had a twisted way of going about it. But that’s something people never stop to realize. It’s almost blasphemous to say that Hitler had any amount of good in him. He did such drastic wrong that people are so opposed to hearing anything good about him. Likewise sometimes people get shocked when “good” people do something wrong. A loving father killed his wife or something crazy like that. We can never understand how “such a good person” could do something like that.
I think the key for us to remember is that everyone is both evil and good. What dominates their personality and actions is a combination of what’s prevalent in their life and what they reflect on. So the next time you look at a killer, the next time someone hurts you, try to separate their actions from their character. Imagine if that was you that made a mistake? Wouldn’t you want people to know that all the good you did wasn’t a front? You really do have good intentions you just messed up. You weren’t evil all along and just hiding it, no you’re still the same person you just had a moment of flaw.
You can translate that to how you treat others. No it doesn’t mean be stupid about it, but you truly learn to forgive someone when you dislike the action instead of them. I thought long and hard about what it means to forgive because I felt (and I felt right) that I never truly did. I would forget about the person and believe I forgave them. Now I know better. You can only truly forgive someone when you understand that people are human and make mistakes. Their mistakes do not define them, and they still deserve love and acceptance. Maybe not from you, but from somebody.
It took me not receiving forgiveness to finally understand what it is. To those who I’ve hurt: I’m sorry for my mistakes, and I hope that you can separate my character from my flaws. I hope that you can look past my mistakes and see me for me. I hope that you don’t forever associate my mistake with who I’ve always been. I’ve always been the same person you thought you knew I just had a human moment.