“Showed love to you ni**as, you ripped out my heart and you stepped on it, I picked up the pieces before you swept on it / Damn this leaves a mess, don’t it? / Feelin’ like death, don’t it? / Charge it to the game, whatever’s left on it I spent about a minute, maybe less on it …” –Jay-Z, ‘I Love You So’
I had a disagreement with my pops three months ago; a friend of the family’s dad passed away three weeks ago, and my lady-friend questioned the whereabouts of her father three days ago. She doesn’t call him dad; she calls him sperm donor.
Death probably feels better than betrayal. The sharp sensation of having your heart seized, torn and discarded is one of the most severe of human emotions. At least when you die, there’s no residual feeling of death. Its just poof and you’re gone! But when you’re emotionally beaten to a bloody pulp while conscious, forgiveness sounds like Spanish to an indigenous African.
We’ve all been hurt. Pain is a universal concept. Rapper Rick Ross is releasing an album December 13th titled God Forgives, I Don’t. Though this may be a cool, catchy gangsta motto, it’s by far the most foolish message to send any human being. Forgiveness is a necessary component to living. Without it, we fail. If we don’t exonerate our wrongdoers, we become trapped in that awful moment. Grudges foil growth. If an almighty and powerful God has the power to forgive, who are you not to do the same for others?
Forgiveness doesn’t restore trust, but it’s an opportunity to rebuild it. It’s not about wiping away consequences; it’s about creating possibilities. We were created to love. What’s the purpose of a heart if it doesn’t love? What’s the purpose of a life without a heart?
Ladies, this is for you: Many of you are more forgiving than we are. But sometimes the most difficult person to forgive is yourself. God has already forgiven you – it’s about time you do the same for yourself. The first greatest love you will find is Christ, the second greatest love you will find is in the mirror. You are forgiven.
Gentlemen, this is for you: She walked in smelling like your best friend’s cologne. Your absent father resurfaced now that you’re a success. Mismanaged loyalty is commonplace. Theses scenarios don’t define you, but your reaction to them does. A gentleman is forgiving. He isn’t stupid, but he does know how to progress past his trespassers.
I’ve cheated, been cheated on, had a best friend creep with a lady I dated, have had friends steal from me, lie on me, and betray me – but I still love life and I still love each one of them as well. The greatest gift you can give an enemy is forgiveness. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the same.
Forgive someone you hate this week and release your soul.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario, public speaker and entrepreneur. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up, Guide to Ladies’ Etiquette from a Gentleman’s Perspective. Find him at his new website bereolaesque-online.com, or @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as his Facebook fan page.