Past mistakes

‘He who cannot forgive another breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself.’ — George Herbert

‘Forgiveness is a door to peace and happiness. It is a small, narrow door, and cannot be entered without stooping. It is also hard to find. But no matter how long the search, it can be found.’ — Johann Christoph Arnold

On his blog, Paulo Coelho told the story of Buddha coming across a yogi with one leg.

During a journey, Buddha came across a yogi with only one leg.
“I burn all my past mistakes”, explained the man.
“And how many mistakes have you burned?
“I have no idea.”
“And how many are left to burn?” enquired Buddha.
“I have no idea.”
“Then it is time to stop. Stop asking God for forgiveness, and go and ask those you wounded for forgiveness.”

I see Christians, that is followers of the Church rather than followers of Jesus, worshiping in church, maybe seeking forgiveness for their sins, then leave the church with a total disconnect.

I call my mobile phone company to complain for the umpteenth time about their piss-poor service. They apologise, say they are sorry, but the the piss-poor service worsens.

Sorry is one of the hardest words to say, it is also one of the easiest.

Forgiveness only has meaning when it comes from the heart, when we show grace. Actions speak far louder than words.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa heard ‘confessions’ from those who had carried out atrocities during the Apartheid era. One of the gruesome and most moving was that from a policeman. He and his colleagues killed an 18-year-old black boy, then burnt his body to destroy the evidence. Eight years later, the policeman returned and burnt the father, forcing his wife to watch.

Asked by the judge what she wanted, she said she wished Mr van de Broek to go with her to the place where her husband and son had been burnt, gather up their ashes and give them a decent burial. He agreed. She then added:

Mr van de Broek took all my family away from me, and I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. And I would like Mr van de Broek to know that he is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him too. I would like to embrace him so he can know my forgiveness is real.

As she slowly walked towards the witness stand some in the court started to sing Amazing Grace. Mr van de Broek did not though hear the singing, he had fainted, overwhelmed.

For Sian who asked me to forgive her for the hurt she had caused.


Rumours of Another World

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Why Forgive?

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3 Responses to “Past mistakes”

  1. Priya Says:

    Hi Keith,

    Forgiveness is far easier said than done – the example you give of the South African woman is commendable, but certainly an exception to the rule.

    Many times we ask for forgiveness to appease our conscience rather than truly seeking ‘forgiveness’.

    Anyway, as always a very well written article by you.


  2. keithpp Says:

    Thanks Priya for your kind thoughts.

  3. sunny Says:

    really loved reading ur thoughts….. and the story of forgiveness that you’ve discussed here is extraordinary……… great work!

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