FORGIVENESS – A FRAGRANCE OF LOVE
By; Sinenhlanhla Mthembu
According to scripture, we are commanded to, “love our neighbours as we love ourselves”. It becomes a challenge when one is wronged by a person they live with and a person they vowed to spend their life with, declaring that only death will part them.
It does, however, become difficult when abrupt and unforeseen circumstances bring challenges that dictate one’s state of mind, health and well-being.
Many say that forgiveness has nothing to do with the person you are forgiving but has everything to do with you. Zama (30) of KwaZulu-Natal couldn’t agree more.
“He stripped my mother of her finances, but she possessed something – a God-like forgiveness,” she explains.
Zama, who lost her father at a very tender age, lived with her mother in a huge house, in one of Durban’s upmarket suburbs. A house filled with God-fearing women with a robust appetite for God’s things.
Her mother fell in love with another man who married her shortly after.
The man the mother married told her to sell the house because it wouldn’t be right for him to live in a house that is owned by a woman. She sold the house but all profits went towards the man’s new business. They then started living in a less luxurious, rented home. Situations you encounter and decisions you make have control over your life.
Life won’t be interesting without its sudden turns, loops and heart-wrenching surprises. Seven years later, the life promised by the man, became a distant dream – they still lived in a rented house, and unbeknown to them, the man was having an affair that caused him to buy a house for the woman he was seeing.
After all that heartbreak and tribulation, he then revealed to his wife that he had contracted HIV, allegedly from the girlfriend. Zama’s mother tested positive too.
When your natural instinct is to gratify a selfish act such as holding a grudge or allowing an outburst of rage, Zama’s mother chose love and forgiveness instead.
“She did not leave him- she held on to the covenant she had made with God on their wedding day,” expressed Zama.
Zama’s mother was not only stripped of her financial status because of marrying in community of property, but was also stripped of her health.
She explains that she witnessed God’s forgiveness through her mother’s marriage and that grace allows you to do something that your natural self cannot do.
God’s will is for each of us to live abundant lives on earth, but He also alerts us to the fact that life will have its fair share of challenges.
Zama started resenting her mother, questioning how she could forgive a man who came into their lives just to destroy.
Years later she began to understand and looked at her mother, not just as a mother, but as a woman who made poor choices.
Forgiveness is taught in a lot of ways. In Zama’s case, forgiveness was learned through her mother, who taught her that in this life, offenses and hurt will always come- we either forgive or we end up wallowing in our bitterness.
Zama’s mother took care of him until his dying day.
“In all of this, she kept her eyes fixed on Christ,” she explained.
Zama, who confesses that she is not really sure what she would have done if she was in her mother’s position, however, she now views things differently. She sees that her mother chose not to be a victim but a protagonist.
“My mom stayed because her heart broke when she saw him in his deathbed. She loved him unconditionally, so she forgave him unconditionally,” Zama said in realisation.
Finding forgiveness for someone who deeply hurts you may be hard to do, but God tells us that forgiveness has no limits. No one ever modelled forgiveness like Jesus.
Zama explains how her mother taught her that we must learn to forgive just as Jesus forgave us.
“There is no freedom like that which comes from releasing negativity and letting go of bitterness or resentment.”
Imagine those words coming from a woman who has been hurt, comforting a woman who is not receiving the pain first hand.
Hurt’s natural reaction is retaliation. We usually wants the other person to experience pain just as we’ve been injured. Sometimes one may even feel that anger and the urge for vengeance are justified. There are always bad results to wanting to get even.
Both Zama and her mother are back on their feet. A lot has been restored both in their personal and financial lives through the act of forgiveness.
Zama describes her mom as different and how her life has such fragrance now.
“My mom travels a lot now, she is enjoying her life and seeing her happy makes me happy too.”
She thanks God for giving her a mother who has such a big heart and a mother who made her realise the power in forgiveness. She is even excited about marriage.
Scriptures instruct us to “overcome negative emotions by bearing with each other and forgiving whatever grievances we may have against another. We must forgive as He has forgiven us” – Colossians 3:13.