“Forgiveness” by John Greenleaf Whittier
My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!
It is interesting to think that pride, not injury or injustice, prevents a man from forgiving. How often have you heard a person say: “I could never forgive him for what he did to me/her/them/us/etc.” In saying this the person has judged certain wrongs to be beyond forgiveness. And in so doing he binds himself to that which he refuses to forgive through hatred, rather than freeing himself and perhaps more significantly, the world from it…through love.