Studies have shown that humans are very forgiving of their offspring. A boot in the head by mistake, a split drink and crayons up the wall are a source of annoyance but usually we just forgive and move on. Not like the Macque Monkey from Japan. When they are shamed or hurt by someone who is higher up than them they plot and twist on revenge. They know they can’t hurt their elders so they cunningly go after one of the rellies and within sight of the wrong-doer inflict their revenge.
Revenge, it seems, is a human instinct. We want to put right what has been wronged. If we feel a sense of injustice we want to correct that. Some of us in the higher realms of geo-political nightmares will exact revenge in a public and very harmful way with weapons and war. It has been shown that a great percentage of high school shooting were people trying to gain revenge. We may look on bewildered as to how people can do this, tumble buildings, bomb and maim but are we really any different in our feelings when we are the one who has been harmed?
A deal of our ’emotional baggage’ sits under the category of ‘he or she did this or that to me and I can’t forgive them.’ We may remember back to school, our childhood, our youth. We can feel the pain of how someone rejected or shamed us. We carry the petty grievances our neighbours or friends may have given us. I have a letter in my head that I want to write to someone who really hurt me, there is not a day that goes by when I don’t rewrite that letter and virtually send it.
There is an easier way out of this muddle and that is to forgive and repair. Not a big biblical forgiveness, it can be so subtle as a shift in perception. We see our perpetrator as a person just like us, human and stumbling along. We see them for their good and not this one incident. We can shine a torch to them and hold them in our hearts, to let our wounds repair.
Practice for today: Forgiveness is hard and it is heroic. However the alternative is rather grim for us. What choice can you make today about looking more closely at ways you can move on? The world needs it urgently.