Faith & Forgiveness

With the great strides we have made over the last five decades in particular, we are still lackadaisical in searching for the true existence and purpose of our lives.

Faith & Forgiveness

“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.”—D. Elton Trueblood 

One cannot just downplay or discard the wisdom of the past or the present on the basis of not being in the twenty first century’s context. Despite all our technological advancements of which we are so proud today, the basics within our nature have stubbornly chosen to retain their characteristics. With the great strides we have made over the last five decades in particular, we are still lackadaisical in searching for the true existence and purpose of our lives. 

There can be no denying the fact that despite the world having now shriveled into a global village and despite our connections (thanks to the neuronal internet) with the peoples around this earth, many continue to suffer from an inner vacuum that leaves them isolated, incomplete and generally, unhappy. Although most of us seem to have a good inkling about each other, yet the warmth that ensues from close-knit relationships seems to be gradually cooling off. Those who have the sense are frequenting psychiatrists in a bid to find respite from inner restlessness that haunts their minds causing extreme pain to themselves and their loved ones. Those who are too embarrassed to see a shrink are prone to other measures like prayers or even drugs, in more severe cases. 

It appears that somehow, humans are losing faith in themselves because of which they are looking outwards in search of some reliable entity that can enable them to move forward in life. Mere physical prowess is not important to achieve one’s ambitions. Something more is required—faith—something which is metaphysical in nature. It cannot be seen or touched but does exist in one’s heart and mind and exercises tremendous control over whatever one thinks, does or intends to do. When trapped in a crisis, and remission is nowhere to be found, the small flicker of hope proves helpful in overcoming it. Going a step further, it is faith that we place in the sensibility of our parents and mentors in grooming and moulding our thought processes making us what we are.  

Besides having faith in the capabilities of others, one also needs to profess strong faith in one’s self which is the building block that is integral to invoking confidence. Persons who can place reliance on their convictions, abilities and efforts would definitely be propelled towards achieving their goals. Instead of depending on others to lead us out of our quagmires, it is always more appropriate to look inside our own souls for consolation and guidance. What prevents them from utilizing their inert potential to invest in transforming high levels of demoralization to high levels of inspiration? Is it the absence of faith? 

Lack of faith in a system one lives in and holds as just and fair, or set of beliefs one professes, and more significantly in one’s inner ‘self’, invariably causes anxiety to take control of one’s faculties which leads to weakening of willpower. Once people lose confidence in themselves either, complacency and insensitivity set in or they suffer from panic attacks. When this happens anyone can become incapacitated and be deprived of clear thinking which may result in absolute submission or what we understand as flowing with the tide (status quo) or result in total anarchy. 

The positive side is that when a nation enriches itself with faith, more than ever, nothing can obstruct its path to becoming stronger and self-reliant. A well-groomed resilient group possesses an unshakable higher plinth of confidence and ultimate degree of expecting the best outcomes from its efforts. Only then can it aspire to achieve its objectives. Leaders are not aliens. They emerge from the public and a nation that is blessed with good faith in totality can hope to have someone ‘faithful’ heading it because this term envisages loyalty and a loyal person can never harm the people but would always place others’ interest before own. The journey from faith to faithlessness and regaining of faith is actually rise, fall and rise of nations. There is need to regain faith and then act accordingly to rise, stemming a downwards slide.

There can be no two opinions about a mind at ease being more capable compared to one that is tense and anxious. Where thoughts are scattered, especially in the negative sense, it would be foolish to expect someone to be focused as well as productive. The potential of the human mind is infinite in terms of power and usage as proclaimed by many researchers. In order to unlock these features, it is essential to have peace of both heart and mind otherwise, one could easily drift towards negativity and destruction as in the case of criminals or revenge seekers, who tend to display exceptional intelligence. 

We all have a set of complaints regarding people who may have deliberately or inadvertently hurt our feelings or created problems in our lives. The main concern here is that how do we deal with them. Either we react by taking revenge or simply forgive and forget. Forgiveness may appear to many as related to high moral grounds preached by religions but a wealth of research suggests that we should adopt it in our daily lives because it holds many health benefits. “Forgiveness requires a conscious application of mind to let go of resentment or vengeance toward someone who has actually or purported to have caused us harm,” suggested Fred Luskin. Benevolence knows no bounds and forgiveness helps calming one’s nerves and spirit. 

Forgiveness maybe a bitter pill to swallow, but it definitely has a sure shot cure for many of those illnesses that erupt as a result of moaning, whining, grousing and nurturing the demon of revenge or hatred. To live in tranquility and progress simultaneously, the best way out is to overcome one’s ego and inculcate faith in one’s self.

The writer is a lawyer and author, and an Adjunct Faculty at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), member Advisory Board and Senior Visiting Fellow of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)