TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lesson 8: Be Man or Woman Enough to Forgive

"The practice of forgiveness is our
most important contribution to the
healing of the world."
--Marianne Williamson
"If you wish to travel far and fast,
travel light. Take off all your envies,
jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness
and fears."
--Glenn Clark

Listen up. To get truly back on track and remain there, you may need to do something that you've been ignoring since you were hurt, since you were pained so deeply that you fight to keep from thinking of it, much less process and go beyond it. You may need to forgive.

Yes, forgive President George Bush for taking your country into a preemptive and illegal and foolish war that killed so many of our brave soldiers, Iraqi men, women and children, and put the American economy into a free fall.

Yes, forgive many of your local politicians for selling their souls to the National Rifle Association and supporting the sale of guns at gun shows and at grocery store parking lots, even though a war is brewing next door in Mexico and spreading into the United States with all sides using our guns. But, most of all, forgive the man or woman who hurt you deeply, leaving a scar inside you that has yet to fully heal.

Ghetto

Okay, the daddy already knows that, when it comes to forgiveness, some of you can get real ghetto:

"So you want me to forgive the man I loaned my last $200 bucks to so he could pay rent and stay in his apartment only to find out later that he spent it all on crack. Man, you crazy!"

Yes.

"Daddy, let me get this straight. You want me to forgive that skirt-chasing husband for leaving me and running off with his gold-digging secretary who can't type as fast as our 10-year old son. And he's got ADD. Ugh huh. He put you up to this, didn't he?"

No.

"Say what? Forgive this bitch who left me to shack up with my best friend and the best man at my wedding? Wait til I see her. I'll forgive her alright; and when I'm finished with her, I'll call the police myself!"

Yes. Forgive her.

Forgive folks for the pain, injury, sin and all the wrongs they've done to you. The daddy says, if you have to go fishing all weekend, do it. If you have to go to a Freudian psychiatrist and lie on the coach, do it. The daddy says, if you have to break into a bible-thumping church and fall on your knees in a praying position, do it. Seriously, fhis heavy burden you've been carrying may not have changed the wrong- doer, but it has changed you. You've lost trust and faith in those around you and people in general. You no longer believe in the best of humanity; you no longer even believe that there is a better nature in human beings. This lack of faith, this lack of trust, makes you suspicious and cynical of just about everyone, just about everything. It's time to travel light.

Forgiveness is difficult

In German, it's called Vergebung,in In Italian, Perdono, in Latin, Venia, and in Ebonics, "Come to Jesus." But regardless of what it's called, you are reluctant to do it. You are even reluctant to ask your God or Creator to help you forgive. And for good reason: forgiveness is hard.

Author Dale Carnegie ("How to Win Friends and Influence People" and "Stop Worrying and Start Living") understood the difficulty of forgiving when he wrote: "Any man can criticize, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving." But it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ("Where do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?") who seemed to understand best how much character it would take for African American to undertake the journey of forgiveness and see it through. "Change," he preached, "does not roll on wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man cannot ride you unless your back is bent."

King understood that, while liberty is a condition of the environment, freedom is the domain of the mind, and that, to be truly free, African Americans must free their minds and hearts of the heavy burdens of anger, guilt, hatred and revenge.

Don't get the daddy wrong. He knows you know that, ideally, forgiveness is the right thing to do. But ideals are one thing, reality another. American society says, right or wrong, forgiveness shouldn't be done. Quite the opposite, it says revenge should be exacted. It's the main theme in violent American movies. It's the main theme of gangbangers on American streets; and it's the main theme that too many of you have against the one(s) who hurt you. Therefore, to forgive is to give up, to no longer be "committed," or to become a "girlie man."

And some of you mistakenly feel that you will forgive only if the wrongdoer apologizes. What if he or she doesn't? Then how will you lift that heaven burden from your heart? Don't you think that, deep down, this is nothing more than another excuse to delay practicing the painstaking but ultimately rewarding art of forgiveness? Yes, it's easier said that done, but don't you think you ought to seriously try?

What it is

To transcend such feelings, the daddy says, to paraphrase poet Queen Mother Audley Moore, ask yourself, "What is the hour of the night?" and recognize that the Watchman's midnight lantern lights brightly for you. The daddy says revisit the act that pained you, examine it, forgive and move on.

The daddy says you have within you the ability and the strength to forgive. Indeed this ability and strength could be the key to your personal and African Americans' collective salvation. Think about it: If Jesus can forgive those who hung him on the cross, if the King family can forgive James Earl Ray, the man who killed their father, and go to a prison and pray with him, don't you think that you can forgive too?

Where to start? With yourself. Though difficult at first, it can happen. Practice the art of forgiveness and let all that emotional baggage of depression, hatred and revenge fall from your mind and your heart like lint from a fabric of clothing.

Dr. King may have summarized it best when he spoke of both the transcending power and urgent need to forgive: "He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."

Are you man or woman enough to forgive?

16 comments:

Solomon said...

I've been working on this one MacDaddy, it is a work in progress, it is more difficult than it sounds.

But I keep trying!

MacDaddy said...

Solomon:I'm working on this one too. I thought I had gotten beyond hatred and revenge, but I now see that forgiveness is not a one-time thing but a practice and a challenge that continues throughout one's life. Blessings.

truth said...

Brilliant post,
This is an excellent post brother MacDaddy! I'm struggling with this one as well. Like you said, American society expects one thing and our moral foundations say something else.

I'll I'm saying is I struggle with this one too!

Blessings, Brother! Keep up the great writings!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

No. Sometimes I'm just too spoiled, self righteous and generally arrogant to forgive. It takes a lot of pain and sleepless nights sometimes.

Christopher said...

Forgiving is tough.

Somethings, are more easily forgiven than other things.

However, in life, there are some things beyond human forgiveness.

Ask an adult victim -- woman or man, who was sexually abused a child if they forgive their abuser. Or, a man or woman who had a loved one taken from them by the hands of a murderer.

I think asking them to forgive is unreasonable.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Christopher. I've had the experience of living though a very rough path to the forgiveness of someone I loved and trusted--who abused my trust and lied to me--only to find the same behavior continuing after the painful forgiveness and reconciliation. I'm glad I tried. I'm glad I forgave. But I'm also glad I detached myself from this person. Once is enough. Live and learn.

nicki nicki tembo said...

This for certain is my most serious flaw. Not so much that I harbor hate or seek revenge I just shut the door (and rarely return) which might be worse. That's always been my defense against serious offenses. This probably goes hand in hand with me not being a big verbal communicator.

MacDaddy said...

Anon1: You said you gave this person and reconciled with him. I'm glad you learned from the experience, but I guess you know that forgiving someone doesn't necessarily mean that you stay with someone or go back to someone. It also doesn't mean you forget what that person did. Sometimes, it's best to forgive but move on.

nicki: The importance thing is to examine honestly what happened with that person, forgive that person and yourself (if appropriate)and move on. If moving on for you means shutting the door on the relationship, perhaps that's the best thing. I'm not sure anyone is better prepared to make this decision than you.

Christopher: As I mentioned, forgiving is tough. And I'm not asking someone to do it. I'm suggesting that it's healthier to do so.

I just got through reading a story about a half back for the Atlanta Falcons. Recently, he visited the man who killed his mother. They got into a room for a long time. And the guy said what he did and where he was psychologically at the time and how he has changed since then. Dunn said he forgave him and how a heavy burden was lifted from him. That may not happen with everyone, but it certainly happens to a lot of people, once they forgive.

MacDaddy said...

Christopher: I forgot to mention his entire name, which is Warwick Dunn. What's so funny about this is that Warwick Dunn is a very strong community leader in Atlanta, and not just an athlete. He helps build houses for the poor.

Anonymous said...

There is a ton of wisdom in this article, Mac. I love the graphic too. I just know I'll have trouble forgiving Bush and Cheney though : )

Verna

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Amen! I'm planning a post on this very issue. It definitely starts with numero uno. I've only recently been able to truly forgive myself and others. In my book, having a heart of forgiveness sets you free. Wonderful series, MacDaddy!

MacDaddy said...

CurvyGurl: It makes me feel especially good to know you're enjoying this series. I know you work in the health field. It's good to hear from you again. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly powerful post. However you get there, forgiveness frees you. I prayed for 7 years to forgive, to be forgiven, and to discover that peace within me, can only come from me (and my God). Hatred steals your peace. It had been a long, difficult, and soul searching lesson to learn how not to give that kind power over to someone else to dictate my strength and emotions. As Solomon said, it's a work in progress. Well worth creating a personal roadmap to get there. Now there's the other side of the spectrum. You really don't want to be so forgiving as to forget the travesties of the Bushites. Some scars are better left intact to serve as a reminder that we must continue to "believe in the best of humanity..." and "...there is a better nature in human beings." Like Barak for instance. And, I fish.

jah

MacDaddy said...

Jah: What a wonderful statement! Thank you.

MountainLaurel said...

MacDaddy, if I can't yet forgive, if I'm still too angry and hurt, does that make me less of a woman? I"m trying; I really am. It's just hard for me to forgive the one that caused me so much pain and is now relishing in it. Nasty chickie.

I guess, put another way...is there a timeline for forgiveness?

MacDaddy said...

Laurel: Sometimes it's too early to forgive. Sometimes, a person needs time to fully acknowledge what was done, step back from it, think on it, and then begin to forgive. But forgiveness is similar to grief in that there is no time-frame for it. You figure how to do it in your own time, your own way. Blessings.