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Old 02-24-2014, 08:03 AM   #1
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Forgiveness

I was curious about your thoughts on forgiveness--both religious and secular.

1. What is your practical definition of forgiveness?
2. Is there a point where there is no more forgiveness to be given?
3. Do you have standing to forgive someone for a hurt they have done to
someone else? Can you forgive someone for murdering your child, say,
or can you only forgive one for the pain they caused you by murdering
your child?
4. By forgiveness, do you return one to one's previous standing? Does
a thief be given another chance to handle money? Is a pastor/priest/
rabbi/etc. returned to a position of moral authority after a moral wrong?
5. Once you've forgiven someone 490 times, do you get to punish one at
infraction 491 (tongue in cheek)
6. Is forgiveness restoration or is it a decision to walk away from vengeance?
7. Is not forgetting forgiveness?

I thought this might make an interesting philosophical discussion. Forgiveness is one of those vague kind of words like freedom. I think it probably means something different to different people.

Add your thoughts and maybe your own questions.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:32 AM   #2
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If you don't mind, I'm going to answer your questions by lumping them altogether.

I think most people think forgiveness means forgetting and moving on. But that's both not true and wrong. Forgiveness means letting go of the pain someone caused you. Unfortunately, that can take a long time. The idea of simply forgetting and moving on is not good because it makes the person who was hurt forget about their pain and pretend nothing happened, when something did.

Trust is fragile and when it is broken, it can be very hard to repair it. That all depends on how dedicated both parties are to repairing what was broken. If someone cheats on their spouse, it makes sense when that spouse refuses to repair what once was. It definitely makes sense when someone kills another person's child. There is no hope of repairing anything there.

Basically, forgiveness is healing. Since Jesus insisted that we forgive each other, I see that what He also says we must love each other, by forgiving we work on healing whatever hurt we put on each other. Now if it is something heinous, we still need to heal or else our mental, emotional and physical health will suffer. That is when different steps are taken.

The bad thing about refusing to forgive is that it can make someone bitter and broken. Say you were bullied constantly as a kid. When you're older, you have deep resentment and suspicion toward people in general. You become like the people who hurt you. That is why you need to forgive.

Also, keep in mind that the Buddha said, "refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick." I once saw a church sign that said, "he who angers you controls you". So forgiveness is necessary, even if it takes a while to get on that path and reach that point.

No one is to be given a free pass from the hurt they caused from someone - whether it is a religious leader, a family member, best friend, etc. If they hurt you, acknowledge it and try to call them on it, if they are willing to hear it. Not acknowledging your pain is not healthy.

That's basically how I sum it up
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:44 AM   #3
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Oh boy. This one's been on my mind lately because I'm in the middle of it with someone. For me the most tricky question is navigating personal boundaries and forgiveness. If someone has hurt me and I choose not to be close to them in the future or put myself in a position for a repeat, is that unforgiveness? If I need someone to acknowledge the hurt they caused before I can move on with them, is that resentment? Is it possible to let go of the anger but still acknowledge that things may have changed? What's the interaction between forgiveness and restoration? What if it's not something horrific, but just a need to have a personal boundary respected-- do we just need to get over those ones? I have no idea.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jeevey View Post
Oh boy. This one's been on my mind lately because I'm in the middle of it with someone. For me the most tricky question is navigating personal boundaries and forgiveness. If someone has hurt me and I choose not to be close to them in the future or put myself in a position for a repeat, is that unforgiveness? If I need someone to acknowledge the hurt they caused before I can move on with them, is that resentment? Is it possible to let go of the anger but still acknowledge that things may have changed? What's the interaction between forgiveness and restoration? What if it's not something horrific, but just a need to have a personal boundary respected-- do we just need to get over those ones? I have no idea.
Forgiveness is something I've been processing, and it is a long journey. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that the people who hurt me will ever acknowledge they hurt me, so my healing/forgiveness process will take a detour. Its hard to accept that someone will never realize they hurt another, and that adds to the pain. But I'd rather forgive then stay angry, however deep down inside, and let in negatively effect me in life. I once let anger rule me, and the results were not good, so I do not want to go down that path again.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
If you don't mind, I'm going to answer your questions by lumping them altogether.

I think most people think forgiveness means forgetting and moving on. But that's both not true and wrong. Forgiveness means letting go of the pain someone caused you. Unfortunately, that can take a long time. The idea of simply forgetting and moving on is not good because it makes the person who was hurt forget about their pain and pretend nothing happened, when something did.

Trust is fragile and when it is broken, it can be very hard to repair it. That all depends on how dedicated both parties are to repairing what was broken. If someone cheats on their spouse, it makes sense when that spouse refuses to repair what once was. It definitely makes sense when someone kills another person's child. There is no hope of repairing anything there.

Basically, forgiveness is healing. Since Jesus insisted that we forgive each other, I see that what He also says we must love each other, by forgiving we work on healing whatever hurt we put on each other. Now if it is something heinous, we still need to heal or else our mental, emotional and physical health will suffer. That is when different steps are taken.

The bad thing about refusing to forgive is that it can make someone bitter and broken. Say you were bullied constantly as a kid. When you're older, you have deep resentment and suspicion toward people in general. You become like the people who hurt you. That is why you need to forgive.

Also, keep in mind that the Buddha said, "refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick." I once saw a church sign that said, "he who angers you controls you". So forgiveness is necessary, even if it takes a while to get on that path and reach that point.

No one is to be given a free pass from the hurt they caused from someone - whether it is a religious leader, a family member, best friend, etc. If they hurt you, acknowledge it and try to call them on it, if they are willing to hear it. Not acknowledging your pain is not healthy.

That's basically how I sum it up
Indeed. Forgiving has nothing to do with forgetting, and loving has nothing to do with liking (at least in the biblica sense of love thy neighbour). Nobody is obliged to like anybody, or to forget a thing.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post
I was curious about your thoughts on forgiveness--both religious and secular.

1. What is your practical definition of forgiveness?
The person or a community who was wronged letting the perpetrator know they aren't harbouring ongoing resentment or possibly blame.

Quote:
2. Is there a point where there is no more forgiveness to be given?
I think so and I get creeped out by the idea that it's automatically the right thing to forgive. It may be relatively innocuous when it comes to jerks who want forgiveness for being bullies but forgiveness gets held up as an ideal that should be applied to rape and murder. It may well be that some people feel better through forgiveness but it's up to them and they shouldn't be pressured into it.

Quote:
3. Do you have standing to forgive someone for a hurt they have done to someone else? Can you forgive someone for murdering your child, say, or can you only forgive one for the pain they caused you by murdering your child?
I don't think so, it's one of the things I find weird about Christianity.

Quote:
4. By forgiveness, do you return one to one's previous standing? Does a thief be given another chance to handle money? Is a pastor/priest/ rabbi/etc. returned to a position of moral authority after a moral wrong?
Not necessarily, but I don't see why not. Of course this presumes that a pastor, priest or rabbi is in a position of moral authority to begin with and that's not a given.

Quote:
5. Once you've forgiven someone 490 times, do you get to punish one at infraction 491 (tongue in cheek)
That would just be capricious and wrong, by letting them get away with it you made it alright.

Quote:
6. Is forgiveness restoration or is it a decision to walk away from vengeance?
Time has an arrow and things go back as they were; it's walking away from vengeance.

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7. Is not forgetting forgiveness?
If you forgot then you wouldn't be able to forgive.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:35 PM   #7
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Not directly answering BonosSaint's questions, but thought it was worth sharing:

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In interviews conducted by AMI and Creative Court for the project, the subjects spoke of the pardoning process as an important step toward improving their lives. “These people can’t go anywhere else — they have to make peace,” Hugo explained. “Forgiveness is not born out of some airy-fairy sense of benevolence. It’s more out of a survival instinct.” Yet the practical necessity of reconciliation does not detract from the emotional strength required of these Rwandans to forge it — or to be photographed, for that matter, side by side.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...w-nytimes&_r=0

As crazy as it is to forgive those who killed members of your family, healing and reconciliation is something else. I think this shows what forgiveness really is: a willingness to heal and move on. It's not an easy choice, but it can be a wise decision.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:34 PM   #8
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I personally think forgiveness is just a subjective proposal the mind of the accused. Ultimately it's a two way street with limited knowledge complete or incomplete information that eases the conditions of both parties. There is only one answer too all of your questions.
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