Sunday’s Wisdom #217: Forgiving Strength

“It doesn’t take strength to hate someone. It takes strength to forgive them.”
– Glow, The Gifted
Season 2, Episode 11, “meMento”

I knew this was a gem of a quote the moment I heard it, and it comes from such a minor character that I had to search around the internet to find out her name. It would seem that wisdom can come from anywhere. 😉

Glow is talking with Marcos, who, thanks to some recent experiences, is learning to bend a bit, to be more open-minded and humble. Probably the most trying part is his relationship with the woman he loves. They’ve split a bit and she’s honestly wronged him, but not out of spite. Now she comes crawling back, looking for help, and here he is, helping her. She just makes him feel… well, everything! Sad, angry… alive. Everything about her ignites an emotional mess in Marcos, and he’s very confused about it. That’s when Glow tells him that one only gets that mad at someone that matters, someone they love, and she follows that with the above quote.

Marcos, as it happens, is well-acquainted with hate, being on both ends of it. His father cast him out, and he never forgave his father even as he came back and saw the man taken care of when he was bedridden. While he takes that old wound and uses it as motivation to be better, to be a proper parent, he’s never really let go of it. It’s still a source of pain for him.

In a way, hate does “take” strength, not in requiring any to sustain itself, but in leeching it from your soul. Hate steals strength, like a stone chained to your leg.

Forgiveness, on the other hand… well, in order to let go of a burden, first you have to break what binds you to it. It’s not simply “letting go” of something, but actively severing its hold on you. That does require strength. But the reward is that much less of a burden to carry for the rest of your life.

Now, of course, it must be said that forgiving someone is not the same as giving them a blank check. It’s about healing from the past, not inviting more hurt in the future. Indeed, it’s actually very independent of the person being forgiven, and whether or not they change or are sorry. It’s not for them, it’s for the person doing the forgiving. This is how we heal ourselves, not others.

And yet, as we heal ourselves and let go of our hate, so might we heal the world around us as ancient feuds finally die off.

It takes very little strength to break the world. It takes tremendous strength to put it back together.

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