Resentment in the remembrance of wrongs is destructive to our souls. Here are fight tips on how to forgive those who have wronged you.

By Nabi Raza Abidi

There is nothing more destructive to your soul, iman (faith) and your spirituality than the constant remembrance of wrongs that were done to you by someone. And by this, I mean the inability to forgive someone and the build up resentment. As I said in a previous article, forgiveness is not forgetting what a person did to you (that is almost impossible), forgiveness is not having resentment towards them.

The remembrance of wrongs is the poisonous fruit of unhealed anger. The remembrance of wrongs results in lingering resentment and often enough, it opens the doors to other sins. I have often observed that when people remember wrongs, they are prone to slander, gossip, listening to haram music, and commit other sins, small or great.

The constant remembering of the wrongs that others did to you contradicts what we seek from God for ourselves. As the Prophet (s) taught us to say in the following dua: اغْفِرْ لَنَا حُوبَنَا وَخَطَايَانَا أَنْتَ رَبُّ الطَّيِّبِينَ ” Forgive us our sins and trespasses, You are the Lord of the good folk.” If we want God to forgive us our sins, we must forgive the sins of others. As the Prophet (s) said: من لا يَرحم لا يُرحم “the one who does not show mercy shall not be shown mercy [by God”.

Unfortunately, the remembrance of wrongs is just as common among religious people as it is with irreligious people.

Here are some tips to fight the remembrance of wrongs done to you:

1) Remember your own sins and how you wish God to forgive you.

2) Remember how other people have forgiven you for the wrongs you have done to them. I’m sure you can think of a few! Then think of your own hypocrisy in remembering the wrongs of another.

3) Ask the person who has wronged you for forgiveness, and be the first to say sorry even if you are not guilty. Also, try to teach others about forgiving others when they have been wronged. In this way, you may feel like a hypocrite and your “self” may try to reshape itself so that it can forgive.

4) Every time you remember the wrongs a person has done to you, ask God to forgive you for your sins.

5) Finally and most importantly, tell God about your weakness and inability to forgive. Ask Him to help you and grant you the transformative grace needed to heal the spiritual sickness within you and allow you to truly forgive the person who has wronged you.

True forgiveness does not happen all of a sudden. It is a long and difficult process and happens one step at a time. So do not despair if you still having some resentment left in you. Here is an interesting point: the true sign of whether or not you have forgiven a person is when a calamity befalls that person and you feel pity for him or her.

Waʿlaikum as-Salam,
Yours Faithfully
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California