I recently talked at a local secondary school assembly about forgiveness. I used some clips from the film spiderman 3 to help think about why I think forgiveness is important.
In the film, Peter finds out that the man who killed his uncle is free and he is furious. From this point on, his life slowly falls apart as hatred and bitterness consumes him. He loses his girlfriend and is up tight, tense and angry all the time. He chases down the killer and thinks he has killed him and is surprised when his aunt isn’t happy. Peter is angry (the revenge hasn’t taken away his bitterness) but aunt May is forgiving. At the end of the film, Peter forgives the killer and in that moment his facial expression changes to one of joy and freedom. I’ve included the youtube link to these clips at the bottom, but Sony has currently blocked it (sorry!), hopefully it will unblock at some point in the future.
We don’t want to forgive people who have hurt us because it’s natural to want them to pay for what they have done, but when we have hatred for others the only person we are hurting is ourselves. I’m not suggesting it is wrong to want justice, that there should be a consequence for people’s actions, but that forgiveness is about letting go of our anger and bitterness so that our life isn’t spoilt. Easier said than done though?
Is forgiveness worth it? Although it is hard and painful, I think it is.