How obligated am I to forgive if a co-worker, who did wrong and offended me, keeps asking me to forgive her? I am angry and just not ready to forgive.

Because forgiveness is an act of mercy (as is giving money to charity, for example), you are not obligated in a moral sense to forgive her right now for what she did. Our acts of mercy are freely given, and when we choose to do so. The fact that you are asking the question suggests that you are open to forgiveness when you are less angry. If this is the case, then you might consider letting your colleague know that you will be taking this seriously but need a little time. Part of her obligation now is to give you that time. If you do decide to forgive and get to the point that you are wishing her well (one sign that you have made progress in forgiving, which is based on the wisdom of the late Lewis Smedes), you could at that point let her know that you forgive her. These words would be part of your forgiveness process and so should be delivered with humility rather with a sense of triumph or superiority.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness

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