THE Jewish Talmud says the normal life span of a quarrel is two or three days. If resentment extends into the fourth day, it is because you choose to hold on to it.
The problem is that forgiveness is more than an emotion. It is a decision.
A Hebrew expression sometimes used is “Yemach shemo’’, which means, “May his name be erased’’.
It is used whenever a great enemy of the Jewish nation, past or present, is mentioned and is based on the Talmud’s “obligation to hate’’ the hopelessly wicked.
Yet the Talmud also clearly states that forgiveness is a virtue.
Christians maintain that no human being is unloved by the God whose son died on his or her behalf.
Forgiveness is not the same as excusing evil. It does not mean evildoers are excused from consequences of actions.
In Forgiveness: Breaking The Chain of Hate, author Michael Henderson says forgiveness does not condone evil, and evil, on its part, cannot extinguish the power of forgiveness.
“It is important at the outset to recognise what forgiveness is not,’’ he says. “Forgiveness does not mean being a doormat for other people to walk over. It does not mean that we forget what has been done to us or to our people. It does not mean surrendering the right to justice.
People have to face the consequences of what they have done.
“Forgiveness is an act that joins moral-historical truth, forbearance from revenge, empathy for wrongdoers, and a commitment to repair a fractured human relationship. If we do not learn to forgive, we will never experience what life really has to offer.’’
Forgiving releases us from the punishment of a self-made prison in which we are both the inmate and the jailer.
Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare. It also recognises that the person we forgive is probably also a victim of their own wrongdoing.
But it always starts with a personal decision. No one can force anyone to forgive or apologise.