TURNING POINT: To Forgive, Never to Forget

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 31 March) – It’s a long journey to peace.

For peace to dwell in the land, people must open up, thresh out their differences and reconcile.

Reconciliation requires sincere and remorseful admission of mistakes, correction of injustice, and the closure and healing of the hurt of the past by forgiveness.

On reconciliation, the story of Zacchaeus, the wealthy chief tax collector, is instructive. His reconciliation with the people and his forgiveness from God began with his admission of his abuses and his offer and commitment to return to his victims four times of what he had wrongly taken from them.

In our search for peace in Mindanao, justice means restoring to the aggrieved what is due them without necessarily depriving others the opportunity and the means to live decent lives, too. The institutional dispensation of justice requires a balancing act, of a give-and-take approach to correct historical mistakes and excessiveness.

Truly, it is difficult to forgive if no restitution is made to correct an injustice. For instance, If you ask me forgiveness and yet has continued to use and do not return the bicycle you have stolen from me, do you think I can forgive you? That would be asking the impossible.

Let us forgive at the proper moment but let us never forget.

Forgiveness is freedom. Forgetting is a curse to haunt us through time.

To forgive frees us from hatred, apathy and indifference. To forget, on the other hand, may allow the deceit, greed and tragedy of the past to recur and make us victims and slaves all over again.

Let us be kind, understanding and forgiving while remaining vigilant at all times.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., was a research and extension worker, professor and the first chancellor of the Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental. He was a British Council fellow and trained in 1994 at Sheffield University, United Kingdom, on Participatory Planning and Environmentally Responsible Development. Upon retirement, he served as national consultant to the ADB-DENR project on integrated coastal resource management. He is the immediate past president of the MSU Alumni Association.)