Forgiveness

I’ve been enjoying Alexander McCall Smith’s books for a while now, especially the Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency series.  The main character, Mma Ramotswe, has many good thoughts about life in general.  For the next few posts I’m going to share some of the best quotes from the latest book I’ve read in this series — The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.

She remembered Note Mokoti’s mother, who had thought her son incapable of wrong, even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.  She had heard her say, “My son is a very good man–one of the best men in the country.  He is so kind.”

So kind!  She closed her eyes.  She would not allow herself to remember how Note had treated her, and many others too, she suspected.  She had forgiven him, yes, but she still did not like to remember.  And perhaps a deliberate act of forgetting went along with forgiveness.  You forgave, and then you said to yourself:  Now I shall forget.  Because if you did not forget, then your forgiveness would be tested, perhaps many times and in ways that you could not resist, and you might go back to anger, and to hating.  [pg. 60]

“Have you ever confronted a person who has done something really bad, Mma?”

Angela said nothing.

“Well,” continued Mma Ramotswe, “sometimes you don’t have to say very much to them.  You look at them and you must not blink.  You look at them, and you watch them, thinking about what they have done.  It doesn’t always work–there are some people who are without shame, but most people have some shame inside them, Mma.  And you let that shame do its work.  And…”  Now she raised a finger.  “You may tell them that they are forgiven.  That can be very, very powerful, Mma.  Don’t forget it.  Forgiveness works.”  [pg. 239]

 

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