Some things are too Serious to be Forgiven

I was discussing the Evelyn Lozada and Ochocinco divorce [resulting from infidelity and domestic violence] as well this recent Rihanna revelations about her love for Chris Brown with Atala and he decided to write down his thoughts and share with us. Read and chip into the discussion...

I see a lot conflict in relationships where one person did something that causes the other person to be hurt. Even though the transgressor swears blind, “I didn’t really mean to hurt him/her”, the victim is still deeply pained. Even before we consider the effect of such hurtful actions, one question that arises in response to the claim of "I didn't mean..." is, “really?” If the actions in this case are of several deliberate steps, like those involved in maintaining a series of extramarital affairs, or in long running violence to their partner, it’s a hard claim to believe.

I feel that if people know their actions will cause someone hurt; and they had the presence of mind to stop themselves but go ahead in carrying out those actions, it rings hollow to claim it wasn’t their intention to cause any hurt. It’s like a person who, without compulsion, drives while drunk, kills someone and then claims that they never intended to take a life. The fact is that such protestations will not bring the dead to life.

I remember as a child, a china plate would sometimes slip from my hands and break in the course of bringing my parent's food to the dining table. My parents used to be exceedingly displeased at what they termed my carelessness, and would scold me accordingly, saying that I should be more careful. I never did see it that way. In fact, I thought they were being unfair, after all, my intention was never to break the plate. I wished my parents understood that I felt as bad at its breakage as they did, but it seemed all they cared about was the precious plate. I felt they should have been consoling me instead!

Fast forward many years later, and as an adult, I am looking at things from my parents’ of view. I can see that no matter what my intentions may have been, it was the effects of my actions that we would all have to live with. No amount of good intentions could repair a plate that might have cost them a significant amount of money to buy, and whose loss would make serving meals more inconvenient.

But then, I have to bear in mind that not all actions that cause hurt are deliberate, and here, things become harder to call out. What if, in the example above, the person who hurt his or her partner had not engaged in a long-running extramarital affair, but a one-night stand? What if there was just one incident of violence? What if his or her actions weren’t because of a clear decision that he or she was not happy with the spouse, but they were because of a night of foolish, drunken partying? What if they deeply regret their action and want to make it right? Shouldn't the one who has been hurt just let it go?

I know in real life, letting go is not as easy as it is for me to write about it. I believe that everyone wants some certainty of happiness in their relationships, and being able to depend on their partner for some of that. If they can be sure they won’t be hurt again, then that’s something that would make it easier to forgive, even if it’s impossible to forget. in such a scenario, the onus is on the transgressor to make tangible amends and solid plans that indicate how they will change and not revert to their hurtful ways in the future.

However, if the person who has been hurt feels that their peace of mind is gone, then who am I to preach forgiveness? This is not at all to say that I don't think the victim or the person who has been hurt is without any obligations to forgive. Nobody is perfect, and he or she should remember that tomorrow, the tables might be reversed. Would they want be judged as harshly as they are judging the person who has hurt them today? It is important to hear the other person out, consider their intentions, and not make a snap judgement.

However, while the nice side of me understands that intentions are important and about being considerate in deciding to forgive and move on, another part thinks, "surely some things are just too serious to be forgiven no matter how good intentioned the ‘sinner’ was, no matter how sorry for them he or she is?"

Sometimes also, the result of their action makes it hard to forget, even if it’s possible to forgive. For example, it could result in broken trust in the relationship, a contraction of a sexually transmitted disease or a child for another person. Even after the incident is past, these are things that still remain to be dealt with, and dealing with them continuously serves as a reminder as to what has happened. How then will the partners be able to genuinely move on?


So what do you think, are there some things too serious to be forgotten and pushed aside, even if we have forgiven?