Due to messages received on account of the previous column (March 18, 2019), I am prompted to discuss some more about forgiveness. But then again, we cannot really exhaust what forgiveness is. Every experience of being forgiven and having forgiven is as unique as each person. We would rather strike the iron while it is hot since we are now at a time when we recall the supreme sacrifice of Somebody who has embraced us with utmost forgiveness. Semana Santa, are we now.

The object of forgiveness is our perceived enemy. We consider someone who has harmed us as no longer caring to us. Hence, to forgive is naturally towards the other. But how come I also hear people saying, “Hindi ko po mapapatawad sarili ko, Father.” The self has transformed into the other. It has become even more challenging to forgive one’s self.

Hence, the command “love your enemy” is also aimed at loving the self. This is desperately important nowadays inasmuch as a lot of people are suffering from depression. Without a genuine appreciation of the self leads to self-hatred or self-guilt. Snap this out quickly from your senses. Be positive and move on. Huwag maging malupit sa sarili.  Maawa sa sarili. Patawarin mo na iyong sarili ngayon din.

Forgiveness is never tiring. What will get you tired speedily is when you are unforgiving. Sobrang napapagod din ang puso. Nakapaninikip ng dibdib. Not for anything or what, I had just an experience of sitting for four uninterrupted long hours hearing confessions. Believe me, as I was unbelieving myself, there was nothing of a bit of being run-down.

Normally, a couple of minutes glued on a chair could already make me antsy, but not when the ambiance is about humility, honesty, and mercy of forgiving. And on the part (face) of the penitents who had just experienced forgiveness, I have only sensed the relief in them and that feeling of being light. Magaan sa pakiramdam.

Forgiveness may be quite a long and difficult journey but it must start somewhere and somehow. It necessitates mind-conditioning. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger brother rehearsed his “apology speech” before he eventually went to his father. He kept repeating it to himself, memorized lines of forgiveness and did positive thinking about his father. And voila, the celebration took center stage with forgiveness.

In a recent Facebook post, my good friend Karylle (of Showtime), shared a thought of her husband Yael (Sponge Cola) – “Kung ang galit mo ay 6 years old, Grade 1 na ito. Kung teenager na, nakapagtapos na ng Grade 12 at naka-ilang moving up day na. ‘Pag 18 years old na, nag-debut na ang galit mo at malapit nang mag-graduate ng college. Kung nasa edad na marahil ay nagka-anak at apo na ito, kailangan nang magpatawad agad-agad. Baka maubos na ang panahon.” The post continues, “Kung ang pagmamahal ay inaaruga at pinalalago, kabaliktaran naman ang sa galit. Huwag mong alagaan ang iyong galit at hayaang lumaki, lumikha at umusbong sa mundo.”

The singer-actress says further, “Please take time to forgive. It’s the best gift you can give yourself… It starts in the mind.

And it will slowly and carefully make its way to your heart until one day the healing will be complete.”

Finally, given the time, the chances and the ways, and still you are unable to forgive?  Perhaps, it is now time to realize that others need to be forgiven. Kung hindi ka marunong magpatawad, malamang sa malamang, ikaw ngayon talaga ang dapat na nangangailan ng kapatawaran.

Have a fruitful Semana Santa, everyone.

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