I write vengeful, bitchy characters in my stories. The eye-for-an-eye outlook paints them in a multidimensional color, making them human. Flawed. Maybe even relatable, or easy to hate. Which is fine, because we write to stir up emotions.
But does retaliation work in real life?
In light of all that’s happening in France, editorials are popping up all over the media, and the opinions are split — some are willing to build upon a measure of forgiveness, some are calling for retribution.
But would retribution accomplish anything?
I don’t know. I’m just trying to follow this though somewhere constructive — as all opinions have merit when discussed in a civil manner.
Looking at history, we’d be hard pressed to find an example where retaliation has worked.
Stalin did not back down when Hitler’s forces conducted a surprise attack. The British rallied against Nazi bombings. The U.S. did not back down after Pearl Harbor. If anything, retaliation caused more death and destruction.
But on a day-to-day basis, we are inclined to go with our natural instinct and not consult history books. And that natural instinct may or may not tell us to forgive.
I admire those who can immediately pick one side, because I’m still on the fence, even if part of me knows forgiving is the noble thing to do.
What do you think? How do we forgive those who hurt us? Is it possible to learn to forgive, as many advocate?