“Unless You Forgive the Situation”……Can One Forgive “the Situation”?

We came across this expression recently while browsing the web.  The author wanted to make a point about the forgiver’s well-being by encouraging forgiveness…..of a situation.

Can a person forgive a situation?  No.  That is not possible.  Why?  Forgiveness is a moral virtue (as are justice, patience, and kindness as examples).  All moral virtues are toward other people or living beings (we can be compassionate to a wounded dog, for example).  Moral virtues do not point toward storms or earthquakes.  Why is that?  The purpose of moral virtues is to serve, to make better, to uplift in goodness.  We do not serve thunderstorms or try to make earthquakes morally better.  We do not uplift a dying tree in moral goodness either.

This does not mean that we do not try to restore a tree or to prevent damage from earthquakes.  It does mean that our response to **situations** is of a different kind than our response to other **persons. **


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Categories: Misconceptions, Our Forgiveness Blog, What Forgiveness is


  1. Amy says:

    Can’t we have compassion on nature? The idea of “going green” is for the protection of the environment. So, maybe we do show moral virtue to things and not just “beings.”

  2. Samantha says:

    Amy, I think we cannot have compassion on nature because the true meaning of compassion is to “suffer along with.” We have a concern for nature and we try to protect the environment (as you say), but we cannot come alongside nature and suffer with it.

  3. Chris says:

    OK, we cannot be compassionate toward Mother Nature, but surely we can show kindness to nature as we recycle, protect the ozone layer, and a host of other kind gestures. It seems that your view of the moral virtues is too narrow. Even if the bulk of our expressing virtue is toward other people, we can do it to inanimate objects. So then maybe we can do this toward situations too.

  4. Marta says:

    Chris, when we recycle, we are not doing it for nature. We are doing it for the goodness of all persons. So, even your example points the virtues to human beings. This is the way the virtues operate.


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