A recent Ottawa Citizen "Ask the Religion Experts" question was, "How can someone forgive when the injury is insurmountable? Why should we forgive?"
WSO's Balpreet Singh's answer from a Sikh perspective is below. For the replies from the other Experts, please see here.
Forgiveness is as much for the person that has been wronged as for the person being forgiven. The reason why we must forgive is because the alternative is to live in anger and resentment.
Forgiveness means accepting and overcoming what has happened and choosing to move forward without dwelling in hatred or vengeance.
Many faiths, including the Sikh faith, refer to God as the "forgiver," and we hope God will forgive and overlook our faults and weaknesses.
Forgiveness is a divine quality that spiritual individuals also aspire to adopt. Forgiveness is born from the same place as faith: compassion. Without compassion and forgiveness, one cannot advance spiritually.
Without forgiveness, one holds on to the pain of an injury and continually relives it. The anger associated with the wrong continues to eat away both physically and mentally and can infect one's life and relationships with others.
Although the person who inflicted the injury initiated the pain, the choice to end it lies with us. Forgiveness is an act of strength and empowerment that allows the pain to stop so healing can begin. Although recognizing the importance of forgiveness is a first step, the "how" of forgiveness can be more difficult. The Sikh faith teaches that we must accept God's will and work within it. Forgiveness flows from acceptance. We have to play with the cards life has dealt us and make the best of them. Faith in God and the belief that God's will is perfect help us move forward.
What forgiveness does not mean, however, is that we justify or enable wrongdoing.