Excerpt of a text written by Dr Harbhajan Singh
By forgiving, the poison of revenge dilutes and does not kill the man, and the feeling of revenge flies away. The forgiver becomes the abode of love, happiness, humility and contentment. He can cross over thousand problems by his developed virtues and remain stable and broad-hearted throughout. If you are in the process of revenge, this continues both ways and grows more and more. It always gives uneasy and painful reactions. If in between you create the feeling of forgiveness, the same feeling reacts the other side. If it is put into practice the strong and the overcrowded black clouds of bad thoughts wither away in no time. And both sides emerge and feel the radiation of the steady and calm moon and the hope of sun which once for all dispel the darkness of hatred and revenge. Instead the respectful friendship continues to develop.
Devotion and love gives birth to humility and humility to forgiveness. During life you are involved in severe problems. This law of humility and forgiveness works wonderfully. Otherwise you cannot get rid of the reaction. Humility does not know who is offensive and who is defendant, who is sinner and who is innocent. Forgiveness washes away the dirt of the sinner and reminds him of the right way of life, whereas it gives a tremendous boost of vibration of love to the innocent.
To forgive is the act of brave persons in the world. This has never been the work of weak and unstable persons.
The brave person is always happy and contented, whereas even in good atmosphere the weak person remains half-hearted. Where there is forgiveness, there the forces of love surround the atmosphere like the honey bees surrounding the honey place. Kabir tells:
"Where there is truth, there is faith. Where there is lie, there is sin. Where there is greed, there is death. And where there is forgiveness, there is He Himself." So the status of forgiveness is supreme in the world. The beauty of forgiveness is very charming.
After forgiving and forgetting nobody wants to leave the other. They always want to see each other, want to talk lovably and exchange lovable thoughts. They even feel shy to remember the sin and the revenge. The sin and the revenge fly away and are not to be seen thereafter. They are completely washed from the atmosphere. Kabir Sahib foretells: "Everywhere and everyone demands goodness." Goodness is the reflection of forgiveness. By forgiving the fire of anger begins to extinguish. There is no other way to make it cool.
Forgive and forget is the heritage of the Saints alone and of those who follow the words of the Saints. Ego is the hindrance in the way of forgive and forget. Some people out of suppression and emotion forgive, but do not forget. No relief is possible. The fire is there but it is dormant. When storms and swift winds start it may burn afresh. It is the ego which is fire. The fire of ego burns the egoist. The effect on others is momentary. God comes to help to erase the effect on the innocent.
So those who do not surrender, they do not enjoy the lofty smell and taste of forgiveness.
The man with qualities of forgiveness never says that he is good, because those who think of themselves as good, goodness never draws near them. It is a fundamental rule and there is no exception to the rule. So long as one thinks that he is good, innocent and right, he neither forgives nor forebears forgiveness. He is hard and is not humble. His own actions are hindrances in his way. Such people get dry and leave dryness after them. Their effect on the atmosphere is not healthy.
The man who can forget is a very strong man. The majority of men cannot forgive. Forgiveness requires a very big heart. And how can those who do not like to forgive others expect forgiveness from God? We wish that we would be forgiven. We pray for that, is it not so?
God will forgive us only if we forgive others, too. Where there is forgiveness, there He comes. If one does not honour His presence, then he loses this and the other world.
If the egoist, due to fresh vibration and sweet remembrance of God, which is only momentarily with him, surrenders to forgiveness, then the merciful Lord plants meekness in him and he obtains peace and comfort here and thereafter. The egoist due to forgiveness becomes a conscious one.
The stones leave their hardness and begin to melt away. They leave their high altitude and come down on the earth to serve humanity.
So thought waves are very potent, you see. You have to use control, you have to control the thoughts. Don't fritter away your life and strength in thinking like this. Think positively! If you think somebody is good, you'll become good. If you think ill of others, you'll become like that. ("As you think, so you will become.") That's the secret of saints. They have good wishes even for those who would kill them.
I have told you no new thing; but we should start with a clean heart. What is past is past; it should be forgotten: first forgiven and then forgotten. Even in forgiving we say, "Oh, I have already forgiven you; why should I forgive you again?" This question was put to Jesus: "What should we do to forgive others? How many times should we forgive them? Seven times?" Jesus said, "l say forgive him seventy times seven!"
The scriptures are not only meant for reading or ruminating over. It is to be learned. Whatever you learn should become part and parcel of your life, and you will change like anything. The man-body is the golden opportunity we have, and we can do it; each man can change. There is hope for everybody: every saint has his past and every sinner a future.