Is forgiving the same as getting rid of one’s anger toward someone?

Getting rid of anger toward the person who acted unfairly is one part of the definition of forgiveness, but not the only part. We first should make a distinction between healthy and unhealthy anger. Healthy anger stays within proper boundaries and does not impose or threaten. Unhealthy anger is deep and abiding, sometimes referred to as resentment, and can be harmful to self or others. Forgiveness is intended to reduce or even eliminate unhealthy anger. At the same time, there is more to forgiveness than this. A person can reduce unhealthy anger and be rather dismissive of the other person (“She is not worth the effort. I will just put her aside.”) Forgiveness is never dismissive of others, but instead the forgiver tries to see the unconditional worth in the one being forgiven.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness

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