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We must learn to forgive others

By Rosa Shareef

July 25, 2009


Some time ago, I received an e-mail which read: "If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, think about this...

"Life is too short to let the little things get to us. A high school teacher once told her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they refused to forgive in their life's experience, they would have to chose a potato, write that person's name on it, and the date, and put in the plastic bag. Some of their bags were quite heavy.

"They were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it in their beds with them at night; on the car seat when riding, next to their desk at school, etc.

Pain and negativity

"The hassle of lugging this bag around with them made it clear what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget it and keep from leaving it in embarrassing places. Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime.

"This is a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity! Too often, we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, but it, clearly, is for ourselves!"

Just imagine having to carry something heavy with us everywhere we go work, to bed, to school, and etc. Though we realize it or not, we do. When we are critical of others, negative, and unforgiving, we are carrying unnecessary "baggage" with us. It is strange that sometimes we don't see the negative tendencies in ourselves that we see in others. We are always pointing the finger at someone else and neglecting four other fingers being pointed back at us.

'Those who do good'

In the Holy Quran, Chapter 3, Verses 133-134, God says:"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a Garden whose width is that of the whole of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous; those who spend freely, whether in prosperity or in adversity, who restrain anger, and pardon all men; for God loves those who do good."


Unlike the weights used by one wanting to tone up the muscles in his body, the weight of negativity is self-destructing tearing down relationships. When we clear the air of negative attitudes, it is like a breath of fresh air - like cleaning out the refrigerator after neglecting it for a long time.

We find old food that is molded, soured and stinks. Is it edible? No! What do we do? We throw it into the trash. We don't keep it lying around like the one who will "forgive but not forget" so he can easily pick it up and use it again. No, we throw it outside into the trash. Otherwise, it will stink up the house.

So let's stop carrying around negativity with us for such long periods of time, and we will see that we will sleep better, we will feel better, and we will even look better. So just as a reminder, don't sweat the small stuff, and believe me, all of it is small.

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