“Is it possible that resolution happens more through forgiveness and understanding than vengeance and punishment?” asks Amitava Kumar. I feel as though this question is all about perception, and my perception is a steady no. If someone has a serious issue, like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or have killed somebody, studies have shown that it is going to take a lot more than being forgiven for them to come to their senses. Mistreatment by others will become a recurring problem if you allow it to happen.
My family and I have had a lot of expirience with this. There’s a woman in my family who I once called my grandmother. For years she abused meth. She’s been in and out of jail ever since I can remember for it. If you’re not aware of the effects meth has on a person, let me sum it up. Studies have shown that meth abusers feel empty without meth but on top of the world when they’re on it. They feel as though they can’t live without it.
The effects the meth had on her made her very bipolar. One minute she’d be happy, trying to be everyone’s best friend, the next she’d be sending my mother paragraphs upon paragraphs of text messages telling her how she ruined her life. She tore my mom down every day. This caused a lot of strain on my mother for years, which as you could surmise, broke her down. Seeing my mother cry because of her own mother really made me realize how much pain she was really causing from a very young age. This also made my mom and dad fight a lot since my mom was always stressed. But we continued to believe Julie, my estranged grandmother, when she told us she’d get better.
She’d steal money from my great grandpa (her dad). We all knew why she’d steal it, either to buy the drugs or because she was broke from buying the drug. She’d lie about it and it would start wars between my mother, my grandpa, and Julie. She blamed my mom too many times to count. She also stole money from my grandpa in the sense that he bailed her out of jail so many times just for her to go back for the same thing, it was basically like he was being robbed. He did it because he cared about her though, he believed she could get better. We all did.
It seemed like she ruined every holiday. I can remember many Christmases she’d call my mom screaming about how no one invited her to anything or no one tells her Merry Christmas. She’d go on about how no one appreciated her when in reality we really did love her and really did want her around. This made our Christmas mornings very strenuous, and that’s not how Christmas morning is supposed to be. She was making herself crazy because of the drug, which made us crazy.
You know things get out of hand when someone in your family becomes deathly ill due to the carelessness of another family member. We had finally had enough of forgiving her in May 2017 when she let my two year old sister consume methamphetamine. Going back to the Kumar quote, “Is it possible that resolution happens through forgiveness and understanding, etc.” I do not believe this. I do not think that forgiving someone makes them realize what they did was wrong, or that they have a serious problem. Especially when you’ve been forgiving them for the same thing for years.
“The significance of restorative justice lies in community based processes that hold people who harm directly accountable to the people they’ve harmed.” I one hundred percent agree with this statement. If you’re going to lie to someone, steal something, hurt someone, cheat someone, scam someone, etc. you should be held accountable for those actions.
Sometimes, people can do very hurtful and inexcusable things to you. What it boils down to is perspective. Amitiva Kumar also states, “Forgiveness for me was self-preservation.” It all depends on your morals and how affected you are by what someone did to you. I do believe that the harm of the person should correlate with the forgiveness given to the person who wronged them.
If someone lied to you about stealing a pen from you its different than someone lying to you about if a child is yours or not, but how you take it all depends on who you are and how you handle things as a person. If you continue to forgive someone after they have persistently hurt you, you make them think that it is okay for them to keep doing that to you. They will have this mindset that no matter what happens you’ll forgive them.
My Daughter, Makayla Whitington