Unforgiveness is Pride

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“If you don’t leave here, I will slap you!”, he said, looking very furious.

“Charles, just go”, Abiola told me whiles preventing him from getting close.

I left his premise with anger and hatred. “This is the end of everything good that has ever happened between us”, I told myself.

Now, let me tell you the whole story. This happened during my senior high school days.

One afternoon after classes, I caught up with two of my male colleagues discussing an issue regarding one of our teachers, our elective Maths teacher. This was a teacher who always asked me to pray before starting his lesson in class.

Student one: “I heard he has been sleeping with the girls in the class”.

Student two: “Really, it could be true. He appears to be innocent”.

“Hmmm”, I said as I left them for the dormitory.

Two days after that incident, the whole class was called to his small office below the storey building which harboured our class.

“Some students have said he is sleeping with the female students and someone told him so he is questioning them”, that was the answer one student gave me when we were called.

Very soon, it was my turn.

“Charles, did you hear what the students were saying about me”, Abiola asked.

“Yes, last two days, I chanced upon student A and student B discussing it but I just passed by. I know it couldn’t be …”, I said.

“Why didn’t you come to inform me”, the teacher interrupted.

“I couldn’t have told you, it was just a rumour and I don’t know how I could have come to tell you this”, I defended.

“If you didn’t come to inform me then it means you accepted it as true”, he angrily cut in.

“But…”, I didn’t know how to defend myself.

I didn’t see how I could have gone to him to inform him that I have heard some students claiming she was sleeping with the female students. Besides, though we were friends, we weren’t friends to that level where we could discuss sensitive matters of that nature.

I still couldn’t figure out where I went wrong here.

After classes, I went to his residence to explain myself well and apologize if the need be and that was when the incident at the beginning of this article happened.

I knocked and Abiola opened the door and the teacher popped his head out and asked;

“What do you want here?”

“I came to apologize for …”

“If you don’t leave here, I will slap you!”, he cut me short, looking very furious.

“Charles, just go”, Abiola told me whiles preventing him from getting close.

 

I couldn’t study that evening and the few days afterward. My condition wasn’t out of guilt or pity but out of hatred. Hatred for humiliating me.

When we went for vacation and resumed, he started asking me again to pray before he starts teaching. Despite the fact that he was over with the issue or at least appeared so, I couldn’t forgive him. I would pray amid hatred. It changed my mood and behavior towards his lessons.

 

I was still a Christian or professing to be so.

“If you don’t forgive him, you can’t make it to heaven”, this thought struck me one day.

It kept repeating in my head every time I tried praying but my hatred and self dignity or self pride as I later understood was bigger and louder than the voice.

My own strength was too weak to push for that forgiveness. I took it to prayer.

“God please help me to forgive him”, I prayed.

“God please help me to forgive him”

“God please help me to forgive him”

“God please help me to forgive him”, I kept repeating it in my prayers for days, weeks and few months.

I started acting normal around him. I started smiling and answering questions in his class. It was after three months that I realized my prayer had worked because I no more hated him.

Unforgiveness comes when we ignore how others will feel and only paying attention to our pride. Not caring how the person pleading will feel, how those around you will be affected by your actions springing from your unforgiving attitude, we ignore all these.

“How can s/he do this to ‘me’?

“He wants ‘my’ downfall, I can’t forgive him”

Our reasons are full of ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘mine’. It is the proud that finds it difficult to forgive. Pride makes you feel that the only person who matters is you and you alone.

I have heard people say, “Me? I never forgive ooo. Whatever you do to me, I must have revenge before I feel okay”. Such people are digging big graves to bury themselves. They spend countless hours and days strategizing on ways to harm or have their revenge. Productivity is low and they never become objective in their discourse. They will always find ways to oppose the person they are having the grudge with.

After forgiving my teacher and cleaning my heard of all hatred, my highest grade came from his subject in the final senior high school exams (SSSCE).  Though it’s been years since I saw or spoke with him, this story has been shared with my sunday class many times and I decided to share it with you too today.

Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease. According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way.

Don’t allow pride to prevent you from attracting the blessings of God and keeping you sick, for the bible makes it clearer in Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

Jesus also explained it better in Luke 17: 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

God bless you.

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