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Forgiveness


white_raven23
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So this morning I got to thinking about the invisible but blatant culture of forgiveness our society is soaked in. I wondered if anyone else had thought along these lines…..so I started ‘googling’.

 

I put ‘culture of forgiveness’ into the search engine, and got back a bunch of bucolic crap about how forgiveness comes through Jesus, and how good, wonderful, and shiny forgiveness is…mush mush mush. :Hmm:

 

That wasn’t what I was looking for.

 

So I tried googling ‘abuse of forgiveness’, and got back a bunch of sites encouraging the victims of abuse to come to terms with their trauma by forgiving their abusers! Not only was that not what I was looking for, it exemplified the very problem I have with the culture of forgiveness! :twitch:

 

I even tried googling ‘myth of forgiveness’, and got back a bunch of christian sites exemplifying what “true forgiveness” is as opposed to “fake” or insincere forgiveness.

 

Ugh.

 

So I suppose for my thoughts and ideas to exist on the internet, I will have to put them here myself. Although if anyone knows of any articles or websites that go into what I’m about to discuss please post them, because I sure as hell couldn’t find them! I gave up googling because all I was finding was examples of the lobotomized over-sugared clap trap I want to complain about.

 

I think the culture of forgiveness is even more pervasive than the insidious stranglehold religion has on our society. You could be a die-hard atheist, but be just as brainwashed in the ‘forgiveness’ notion as the minister living down the street.

 

Don’t think you’ve been affected by it? Think of this. How much better would you be to people if you did not “know” they would quickly forgive you if you acted like an ass?

 

Our society believes in forgiveness. I mean really believes in it. It is upheld as a virtue. The ability to forgive others for wrong-doing makes you a “good person”. It is seen as the “high road” for confrontational encounters. We are encouraged to be forgiving about everything negative in our lives without ever being told why.

 

Why?

What do I mean why?

 

Did you ever really think about it? What is the real benefit of forgiveness? No. Stop. Not what your teachers, priests, parents, or rabbi has TOLD you the benefit is. I mean the real benefit. The only real benefit I can see to forgiveness for the one doing the forgiving is an acceptance and an agreement to continue participating in a society that includes the person being forgiven. And that is a participation the forgiver is going to continue anyway, whether the person being forgiven is involved or not.

 

What about the person being forgiven? Well we’ve all heard the saying: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness that to seek permission.”

 

Forgiveness by itself does nothing at all to correct behavior in another person. If anything, forgiveness is like a “get out of jerk-hood free” card handed to the person who has done the hurting. It is absolution granted by the victim to the perpetrator for abuse or negligence received.

 

Everyone has done it at least once…..said the words that meant “I forgive you” to someone who we really didn’t feel deserved that absolution. Maybe it was something as seemingly simple as accepting an apology from someone we knew really didn’t mean it, but a teacher or other authority figure pushed you to accept it so normal routine could resume.

 

Off your persecutor goes, they’ve received their clearance, and they don’t have to give it another thought as they go on with their day.

 

But the rest of your day is crap. You are unsatisfied and you still feel wronged. But too late, you’ve said the words. If you voice your displeasure now, YOU are the “bad person” for wanting to take back your forgiveness. So because you were, or felt, pushed to verbally forgive too soon, now you feel guilty for “not really meaning it”. So while the perpetrator goes on, suitably absolved and not giving the matter another thought, you the original victim continue to be punished.

 

Forgiveness performs an even bigger function for our society’s justice system. It keeps them employed. Forgiveness is a critical safety valve for retribution.

 

Retribution has had its name badly smeared in our culture. It’s frowned upon, looked down on, and it is actively discouraged. If someone wrongs you, our society doesn’t want you to ‘take matters into your own hands’, else why would you need the government and its established system of justice? Put retribution aside….let the ‘system’ take care of it. Still feel the urge for vengeance? Why? That’s awful! You need counseling to come to terms with what happened! :eek:

 

Need I tell you how much forgiveness factors into the counseling process? You are now kept busy ‘coming to terms’ with you victimhood trying and being encouraged subtly to forgive and understand the person who wronged you (instead of seeking vengeance) while the justice system takes it’s creeping slow time seeing to a retribution you really won’t ever be satisfied with, because it did not come from you!

 

I want to encourage everyone to take back forgiveness. I don’t mean you should never forgive anyone ever again, but I think we all need to take more conscious and deliberate control of it. The next time someone offends you deeply, and gives you the “I’m sorry” that seems to be permanently stapled to their tongue, look right at them and say: “You have hurt me. I no longer trust you because of it. You will have to earn my trust back if you really want it, and that will take time. Your apology is not accepted.”

 

Even reading these words, I’m sure you can feel the “bump” in the fabric of the social interaction, because this discourse deviates greatly from what we have been encouraged to do instead, which is to offer quick and instant forgiveness for damn near everything.

 

I have typed up my thoughts to my satisfaction….now I have to figure out which forum to put it in. I think I’ll put it in the Lion’s Den for now. That’s where most people are more likely to see it.

 

If that turns out to be the wrong place…..

 

I guess the mods will just have to….

 

Forgive Me. :P

 

 

:HaHa:

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Hmmm...You almost had me, there, W_R23. You ALMOST had me disagree with you (it would have been a first) and give a kneejerk reply about "closure" or some such clap trap. I was going to say that forgiveness allows the person hurt to get over the pain. But then I got down to this bit...

I want to encourage everyone to take back forgiveness. I don’t mean you should never forgive anyone ever again, but I think we all need to take more conscious and deliberate control of it. The next time someone offends you deeply, and gives you the “I’m sorry” that seems to be permanently stapled to their tongue, look right at them and say: “You have hurt me. I no longer trust you because of it. You will have to earn my trust back if you really want it, and that will take time. Your apology is not accepted.”

I imagined myself saying this (in red) instead of "I forgive you", and y'know something? I like that a lot better! It's how I've always felt, so why NOT say that? Why should people be given an easy out without making amends?

 

I don't know if I'd use that on a child, but I'll take it under advisement. Maybe the sooner a child learns that forgiveness isn't gratis, but earned, then perhaps they'll be less likely to hurt someone.

 

I think you're onto something, White_Raven. :woohoo:

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great post White_Raven!

 

i think the common form of forgiveness is bullshit too.

 

A long time ago I was reading Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil and it introduced me to the concept of forgiveness as an actual form of revenge. Taking the moral high road, etc... saying "I forgive you" means that one is in the position to forgive someone else as a meaningful action and this positioning creates a morally powerful ranking and hierarchy.

 

What I love even more is how forgiveness "trickles down" from God... God forgives Christians so now they have the true power to forgive others.

 

And the "freeness" of Christian forgiveness is really just tiny bits of grit in the shit. one more step for them up the holy ladder.

 

so down with forgiveness! :loser:

 

and hopefully pity will be next.

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I had a piece on my blog a few weeks ago about how society has been conditioned to expect apologies. It's been turned into a submissive gesture. The modern expression of "I'm sorry" is totally worthless, because in most cases, people don't mean it when they say it. They just say it to appease the ego of another person, whether they've actually done something wrong or not. And worse yet, we've gotten to the point where people actually expect apologies from other people, as if regret and sorrow are things that can simply be demanded.

 

Forgiveness works in much the same way, only it's far more insideous, because forgiveness has no real value. As you pointed out, it's just a way allowing pricks to get away with being pricks. It resolves absolutely nothing. It just gives the forgivee a free justification for his actions, while the forgiver submits without just cause. That's what forgiveness is. It's submission, and like apologies, society has come to expect forgiveness.

 

It just goes to show how backwards society is. We've come to expect submission, regardless of how meaningless and worthless it ultimately is. It is any wonder that it's this value is at the core of Christian dogma?

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I've never thought that when you forgive someone you have to trust them or like them. I have always thought forgiving someone else was something I did for me so I wasn't bitter about it. I forgave the guy that raped me (though he doesn't know it) because there isn't anything he could have done to pay me back for the pain he caused me and the wrong he did. That doesn't mean I have to ever talk to him again. And it certainly doesn't mean that I am ok with what he did. I've always thought forgiveness was more of a way for you to come to terms with what happened in a way that you know you'd never get any sort of indemnification.

 

But then, I've never thought the one you are forgiving needed to know you forgave them. If they hurt you, they need to accept responsibility for what they did and live with that, for forever.

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I've never thought that when you forgive someone you have to trust them or like them. I have always thought forgiving someone else was something I did for me so I wasn't bitter about it. I forgave the guy that raped me (though he doesn't know it) because there isn't anything he could have done to pay me back for the pain he caused me and the wrong he did. That doesn't mean I have to ever talk to him again. And it certainly doesn't mean that I am ok with what he did. I've always thought forgiveness was more of a way for you to come to terms with what happened in a way that you know you'd never get any sort of indemnification.

 

But then, I've never thought the one you are forgiving needed to know you forgave them. If they hurt you, they need to accept responsibility for what they did and live with that, for forever.

 

What you do is perfectly valid Big Toe, and I respect it.....it goes along with at least half the definition of forgiveness according to the dictionary.

 

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/forgive

 

1 a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult> b : to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>

2 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON <forgive one's enemies>

 

You've got half of 1 down. You have given up resentment. But obiously you aren't handing out pardons, and there is no reason anyone has any right to expect you to (not that that would stop anyone....hope you don't know anyone who does that to you).

 

It is not personal within ones self forgiveness I'm talking about though. I'm talking the bastardized public and socially encouraged form. Mr. Neil defines it nice in his post. I'll have to hunt down his blog entry now. ;)

 

The version of forgiveness that is encouraged in our culture is instantaneous, and therefore completely unrealistic and encourages resentment and long term pain. True forgiveness (as you likely know) takes time. But people want you to accept their apology now, and we actually get some social pressure to do so (at least, I did). Not surprising as the same culture tries to dictate the correct and appropriate amount of time for grieving the loss of a loved one too (you get a week, but if you are still grieving after the funeral is over, people start to get uncomfortable with it).

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Exactly. It's perfectly fine if you give up resentment. In fact, it's a credit to your character if you do.

 

But part of the implicity of the modern social concept of forgiveness is that forgiveness somehow makes their past transgressions okay. But they're not okay. Those horrible things will always be horrible. Forgiveness does not erase the past.

 

And I'm not just saying that to point a nasty finger at people. I know I've done things that were bad, and I have to live with it. I'm thankful that I've been able to grow into a better person.

 

If anything, forgiveness is a way for people to mend their differences based on person's change in attitude or maturity. ...Or, that's the way it should be. Of course, some of us here employ forgiveness, but mending the damaged ties between people takes more than just the actions of the one forgiving. Otherwise, it's just teaching people not to learn from their mistakes.

 

Oh, and by the way, Raven. My post about worthlessness of demanding apologies is rightchere.

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I guess it says something about how I was raised then. I've never been told I had to forgive anyone for anything. I've never been expected to forgive someone. Hell, I was even taught to only appologize if I really was sorry for what I did. And honestly, I've never heard that with forgiveness meant the wrongdoing was ok.

 

I've always thought of it more as a tie that binds. With forgiveness I can break that tie. I no longer expect anything in return (i.e. forgiving a debt) and I don't have to really resent them. I don't see anywhere in there that I'd have to like the person or trust them. You can forgive someone for a crime they commit against you and wish them the best life possible but still not want to be part of that life. I don't think it is counter to forgiveness. But I guess it isn't what is taught with "real forgiveness" either. Which is weird. It seems unhealthy to want to buddy buddy up with someone who has done some huge wrong against you.

 

But then, I've also never heard that being upset at someone's death after the funeral is bad either. I guess I'm glad because it means I'm not putting pressure on myself or others to meet those "standards" but it sucks for those who do.

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You've expressed my thoughts on the subject quite well, Raven. I had a convo on that very topic with Amanda I think, trying to show why forgiveness is not universally good, or even usually good. To be certain, however, I don't think forgiveness is even necessary in the process of giving up resentment, either. Or rather, I don't see what is so wrong with some resentment. Certainly not the same level as one might have just after a given offense, but to me complete absolution definitely requires something on the part of the offender.

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Always had a problem with forgiveness. Always. It seems to me to be the nullification of the concepts of guilt and innocence.

 

If the guilty do what is possible for them to do, in order to right the wrong they've done, no forgiveness is necessary. It's a non-issue.

 

But a public consciousness which supports seeking or giving absolution as a substitute for any attempt by the wrong-doer to name the nature of the wrong and to rectify that misdeed is what allows people like George Bush to prosper.

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I don't know if its completely possible to give up resentment when someone's hurt you, especially if they've done it for years and even if its in the past. I don't care about taking the high road, since I don't care about being a saint, and I don't have anything to prove to anyone.

 

I also hate "random acts of kindness today" and "make a thank you list each day for what you're grateful" ok, I know that's off-topic but I hate that stuff. When it comes to forgiveness, I don't forgive easily, and sometimes moving on to me means not having the person in my life. Like with my father, I refuse to have him in my life. I refuse to have any fuckwits in my life.

 

Then again if you dump each time a friend hurts you, then in the end you'll have no friends, maybe a certain type of forgiveness is necessary but if the people are usually decent I continue to have them in my life, if not, I leave. I also no longer believe in "kill 'em with kindness" because that's really bullshit for assholes to come in and make you a pushover.

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It must be of some value to be worthwhile. The act itself is essentially worthless. If A friend wrongs you in some way, shows remorse or contrition, and it is of some value to retain that friendship, then forgiveness is a good thing. Otherwise, one must question if as some say that forgiveness is for the self, in that it is about letting go of enmity, if you forgive because you have truly let go, or because you think you should forgive.

 

I think that if you forgive someone on simple principle, it can be almost as damaging as the offense itself.

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Hmm...maybe what we need is not forgiveness. What we need is to learn to let go.

 

I find that when I resent somebody, I think of them compulsively. So it ruins my life. It makes me miserable. Do I need to forgive them? I don't know. But I sure need to let go so I can get on with my life.

 

It is the romanticism people add to forgiveness that drives me crazy. The fact that I have to go all the way from hating my enemies to loving them. Why can't I just admit that they are pitiful people who are acting out they misery, forget about them, and move on with my life. To heck with forgiveness.

 

 

It must be of some value to be worthwhile. The act itself is essentially worthless. If A friend wrongs you in some way, shows remorse or contrition, and it is of some value to retain that friendship, then forgiveness is a good thing. Otherwise, one must question if as some say that forgiveness is for the self, in that it is about letting go of enmity, if you forgive because you have truly let go, or because you think you should forgive.

 

I think that if you forgive someone on simple principle, it can be almost as damaging as the offense itself.

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Funny, I didn't read all teh responces to this, but yes I have had similar thoughts, and I ranted about it in my myspace blog....

 

Forgive, forget, get over it

 

 

It isn't always the right time to forgive, or forget. It isn't always wise to just "let it go" simply because it is in the past, sometimes we need to remember. My time table is not always the same as others, and I don't know many who forgive a person while they are still in the act. I do not see people who sweep things under the rug, ignore them for a time, and then look at you and say "it's the past" as spiritual. I see them as phony.Confrontation is not always a bad thing, except to emotional cowards. There are worse things, there is repeating mistakes, there is being taken in by the same liar with the same lies more than once. There is never ever seeing anything from another persons point of view. No one, no one ever earns the right to not walk in anothers shoes, that is an arrogance so beyond the beyonds. That in and of itself may be one person, but this "it's in the past, get over it" is becoming completely prevailing in our culture anymore, and just because it's PC don't make it right. Oh sure it sounds good, but is it? Is it really always the right way? I do not think so. I think there are times, and I think there are deeds we need to remember, so as not to repeat them, so as not to have them perpetuated on us again. I think there is a time for forgiveness, but I do not think the person who comitted a deed that hurt another gets to dictate the time table the person who was hurt should be "over it". If you fucked up, well ya fucked up, no one owes you forgiveness, and no one owes you trust, both are earned. If you forgave them, well thats spiffy, still doesn't mean they have to, or even shold forgive you, it's up to the person hurt, on their timetable. Sometimes I think it behove us all when we fuck up to ask the person hurt, who is not forgiving us, why, and actually listen, without all the PC psycho babble BS about what they should do and how much it's in the past. Maybe it isn't in the past for them.

 

 

 

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...iendID=69582369

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I had a piece on my blog a few weeks ago about how society has been conditioned to expect apologies. It's been turned into a submissive gesture. The modern expression of "I'm sorry" is totally worthless, because in most cases, people don't mean it when they say it. ...

 

May be off subject somewhat, but I absolutely hate the "modern" American way of non-apologizing — eg., like when some politician has been criticized for making a stupid, racist remark and says, "I am sorry if my remarks offended anyone" or when anyone who has been called on some offense says, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Yeah, right, like the problem is not with the person who committed the offensive act but with the person who was offended. Grrr! :Hmm:

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For what it's worth, WR...I think your post gives a lot of food for thought.

 

However, I think it's probably a good thing that direct retribution is kinda discouraged. If my circle of friends is any indication, people often (not always, of course) get the charges wrong. I've actually been involved in a retribution war myself, where people then start to retaliate against the retribution and it goes on and on. And I have a couple friends with a truly interminable retribution war.

 

I agree about the emptiness of forgiveness sometimes too—though I do think there are people who would be sincere about apologizing too. I wouldn't be so cynical to assume *everyone* would take advantage of an apology, even though there are many who would.

 

-Seth

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I had to apologize for everything when I was a child or was made to accept apologies when I really wanted to tear the other person's eyes out with a fork. I think this is why I carry grudges for a very long time today. If you piss me off or slight me, I carry it around with me. I won't always act on it because I'll carry even stupid petty stuff that has no bearing on anything after the incident, but that's just the way it is. I absolutely hated false apologies and forgiveness, and it's been a pet peeve of mine for years. These days if I actually say "I forgive you" it means, "I'm honestly not bugged that much, just drop the subject."

 

Have you also noticed that people apologize constantly for stuff? When I worked as a courtesy clerk, I can't tell you how many times I was asked where something was by customers and then the person immediately would say "I'm sorry." For what? Why are you sorry? It's written in my job description that I'm supposed to help you. I'm getting paid to show you where stuff is! Don't apologize just because you need something to say.

 

Not only that, one "I'm sorry," is never enough. People will follow you around like a lost puppy because they don't believe you really forgive them. Or, more than likely, it's that they just can't forgive themselves.

 

May be off subject somewhat, but I absolutely hate the "modern" American way of non-apologizing — eg., like when some politician has been criticized for making a stupid, racist remark and says, "I am sorry if my remarks offended anyone" or when anyone who has been called on some offense says, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Yeah, right, like the problem is not with the person who committed the offensive act but with the person who was offended. Grrr! :Hmm:

 

Heh, usually they don't even say the word "sorry" at any point. They say stuff like, "I see now this was in error..." or "The unfortunate comments I made yesterday were not meant to cause grief and I retract my statement."

 

I'll be weird here and say I actually prefer that, because to me that's more honest because of the reasons Mr. Neil put in his blog post. You know they aren't sorry in the slightest.

 

I also use this method of "non-apology" a lot because I also won't say "I'm sorry" unless I genuinely am. Since society constantly expects you to immediately be sorry when you aren't and forgiving when you don't feel like it, just so you won't look petty, I've had to come up with tactful non-apologys and non-acceptances just so I won't hate myself more for saying something I don't mean and don't feel. I think I'm normally a pretty inoffensive person, but if you're being a tool and I treat you like one, you're not getting an apology from me because I don't give a crap about your opinion or your respect. The most I'll do is do a non-apology and leave it at that.

 

Most people can't spot the differences anyway.

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Then you have people that tell the story of how they had an argument and then that person died, oh if only I had said I was sorry,boo,hoo. Bullshit. I had a blowout with an aunt and uncle in the '70s never talked to them again. If they were at a family function I just ignored them. Didn't feel anything at all when they died. There are some people in this world that are such total and complete assholes they don't even deserve a passing thought of forgiveness.

Has anyone seen:

http://www.forgive.org/

Q: What is the true meaning of forgiveness? When I say, "I forgive," what am I saying?

 

A: If you ever had your feelings hurt and you forgave the person for it, and, inside of you, you allowed them the chance to hurt your feelings again, then you really did forgive them.

You entered into real, true forgiveness because you allowed them the opportunity to come back to you again. That's forgiveness. But if you remember who they were and what they said and what they did and the time they did it, and if you say you forgave them, you didn't.

We don't really forgive when we still have the feeling of the memory of the hurt.

I say some people do not deserve forgiveness. I never forgave the drunk driver that put me out of work for a year. Oh my eternal soul is burning ooohhh, wait I don't belive in a soul/spirit.

Q: How do you forgive people who hurt you time and again?

 

J-R: If people hit you, forgive them. If they hit you again, forgive them again. If they do it again, don't be stupid--get out of reach. And forgive them again.

Better yet have, "SHIT ON ME, PLEASE" tattooed to your forehead! I am the bigger person because I forgive you.

Then they say I don't want your forgiveness and hit you again.

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I personally have always been the forgiving type. We all screw up, and I've done my share. So if someone does something to hurt me, I really have no issues forgiving them, because it could just as easily have been me screwing up. Of course it also depends on who it is, what it was, etc.. Oh and if you're taking advantage of me, FORGET IT.

 

What I DO have a problem with is people saying "I forgive you" and not meaning it. "I forgive you"...but then they ignore you, talk crap behind your back, and on and on...that's not forgiveness. If you can't truly forgive someone, don't say it until you can mean it, if that time ever comes.

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It was one of my worse characteristics. Sorry to say I didn't exactly have good role models when young.

 

But at my ripe old age of (??), now I know how silly and destructful it is to oneself to harbor such anger. It's just not worth the trouble. :loser:

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I personally have always What I DO have a problem with is people saying "I forgive you" and not meaning it. "I forgive you"...but then they ignore you, talk crap behind your back, and on and on...that's not forgiveness. If you can't truly forgive someone, don't say it until you can mean it, if that time ever comes.

 

I think that's the type of forgiveness promoted by christianity. They tell you that you are to forgive on the spot, immediately. Which is highly unhealthy.

 

When someone hurts us, we experience a sense of loss, so we need to go through the well-known process of grieving: denial, anger, aceptance, etc. But in christianity, they want you to go all the way to complete forgiveness instantly, and that's the problem.

 

When we give ourselves time to be furious, after a while we get tired of being angry, and we move on. But if we force ourselves to forgive without going through the proper phases, then we are screwed.

 

I abhor the way I was made to feel guilty in church for taking some time to just be angry. People used to say to me, "Do not let the sun set on your anger." I was a good christian but many times I wished I could slap them.

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I would say that forgiveness is like a lot of things; there is a time and a place for it, but not always. It all depends on the situation. I found some interesting articles on forgiveness when I did a web search for "Is forgiveness a virtue?"

 

Individual and Civic Notions of Forgiveness

 

Public musing about the value of apology, forgiveness, and reparation, these softer aspects of how to deal with harm and evil doers, have been, of late, buried beneath louder calls for hard-line punishment. But recently such concepts have surfaced to be applied not only to individual relationships but to broader wrongs and more public evils such as the South African "truth trials", or the expectation of an apology from the pope to all Jews for not intervening during the holocaust, or, in our own country, Clinton’s consideration of an apology to all blacks for slavery. These calls for apology and forgiveness that are being applied more publicly clearly derive from Christian teachings. But they also come out of a more modern psychological interest in self-help, self-reflection, personal growth, and the idea that the pursuit of personal happiness is a meaningful guide for how we choose to live our lives. Thus our thinking about forgiveness stems not only from humility (the idea that we are all sinners and would want to be forgiven ourselves) but also from the idea that it "feels good" to forgive and is "healthier" to let go of anger.

 

In order to discuss the possibilities and uses of "forgiveness" in civic life it would seem important to define "forgiveness" in as precise a way as possible. But such precision is difficult to achieve for several reasons. Dictionary definitions are inadequate in that they stress "pardoning" or "absolving" a wrongdoer from his bad deeds. As we will learn, there are some recent scholars of forgiveness who claim that to forgive does not mean "to pardon". Others emphasize an emotional aspect to the definition – to cease to feel resentment – and yet this definition in and of itself begs the question: can one not cease to feel resentment through other means besides forgiveness? And can’t one forgive while still holding onto some amount of resentment? In this latter definition, only the individual psyche is at stake and not of the interpersonal relationship. Here forgiveness is a change of heart requiring no verbal pronouncement or consequent acts. Finally, a psychologist offers the definition that forgiveness is simply "one mechanism for righting wrongs" (p. 2, Flanigan, 1992). Yet many would argue that wrong is never "righted" or "forgotten" through forgiveness (see multiple essays on this topic in Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower).Thus the chapter to follow begins with a discussion of current concepts of forgiveness while at the same time asking, is forgiveness a virtue? I take on as a specific challenge to the notion of forgiveness as a virtue, the case of women and the problems in advocating the virtue of "forgiveness" for women. Finally, I examine the requirements necessary to make "forgiveness" a useful concept in civic life.

http://tigger.uic.edu/~lnucci/MoralEd/articles/lamb.html

 

Forgiveness and Trust

 

I have always enjoyed working with wood because it is so forgiving. If you make a mistake with wood you can glue it back or sand it out; wood forgives in ways that glass, metal, or concrete do not. Some people are forgiving, others merciless and unforgiving. Without thinking about it much, most of us will prefer the forgiving to the unforgiving, finding comfort and intimacy with the forgiving, coldness and estrangement from the unforgiving. But is forgiveness a virtue and a character trait to admire? In what follows I want to argue that a) our common sense admiration of forgiveness as a virtue comes largely from confusing forgiveness with other phenomena, such as tolerance or mercy; b ) forgiveness understood in terms of rational moral principles (perhaps not in terms of an ethics of care) is often not so much a virtue as it is a weakness or even a vice, because it involves condoning moral evil; and © the phenomenon of virtuous forgiveness involves a particular mode of transcending the limits of reason and morality, something ordinarily discussed in terms of an existentialist "self-overcoming" (Nietzsche) or a "suspension of the ethical" (Kierkegaard).

 

In the investigation of forgiveness we will discover the centrality of trust between persons. It is through the focal point of trust in forgiveness, that applications to human relations (including personal and societal relationships) can be made.

http://www.philosophy.uncc.edu/mleldrid/contemp/toenjes.html

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Have you also noticed that people apologize constantly for stuff? When I worked as a courtesy clerk, I can't tell you how many times I was asked where something was by customers and then the person immediately would say "I'm sorry." For what? Why are you sorry? It's written in my job description that I'm supposed to help you. I'm getting paid to show you where stuff is! Don't apologize just because you need something to say.

 

Yeah I do the same thing. I say sorry when I don't mean it, and I say sorry when nothing's my fault. I'm trying to break out of that, and tell people "no don't be sorry, you didn't do anything wrong." Saying sorry has become one of those memes. Well if someone fucks up and is really apologetic, they can say "I'm sorry" because what else can they say? Wording is sorta limited, I guess they could make the apology more personal to really mean what they're saying. I know constantly apologising isn't healthy, and I'm trying to break out of that pattern because it sucks.

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I personally have always What I DO have a problem with is people saying "I forgive you" and not meaning it. "I forgive you"...but then they ignore you, talk crap behind your back, and on and on...that's not forgiveness. If you can't truly forgive someone, don't say it until you can mean it, if that time ever comes.

 

I think that's the type of forgiveness promoted by christianity. They tell you that you are to forgive on the spot, immediately. Which is highly unhealthy.

 

When someone hurts us, we experience a sense of loss, so we need to go through the well-known process of grieving: denial, anger, aceptance, etc. But in christianity, they want you to go all the way to complete forgiveness instantly, and that's the problem.

 

When we give ourselves time to be furious, after a while we get tired of being angry, and we move on. But if we force ourselves to forgive without going through the proper phases, then we are screwed.

 

I abhor the way I was made to feel guilty in church for taking some time to just be angry. People used to say to me, "Do not let the sun set on your anger." I was a good christian but many times I wished I could slap them.

 

Exactly...I suppose they think it's better to repress it and lie about it, and pretend everything is just fine. Very rational... :ugh:

 

I like the part about slapping people...I can relate to that feeling very well. It also reminds me of a quote from Richard Nixon: "Sometimes, at the end of the day when I'm smiling and shaking hands, I want to kick them." :)

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