Standing Up for Justice
Some have said that forgiveness can make a person weak, reduce the resolve to fight for what is right. Yet, it seems to me that the opposite is true. We become better at discerning what is right and wrong in our world when we forgive because forgiveness occurs precisely in that time in which we have been wronged and now we are injured. The more that we struggle with our injuries from injustice, then the better we understand what injustice is, which can strengthen our insights into justice itself.
As we then understand the serious consequences of injustice, this may strengthen our resolve to fight for justice in a challenging world. After all, as we see the injuries that the self and others can suffer from others’ wrongdoing, then we may be motivated to lessen those injuries by trying to lessen the injustices. We then become fighters for justice.
The mistake is when we think in “either-or” terms: Either we forgive or we seek justice, but we must not do both. This is faulty reasoning. What other virtues must occur strictly in isolation from the other virtues? If I am patient, must I refrain from kindness? If I am courageous, must I throw wisdom out the window? No. The virtues are meant to complement one another: Forgiveness and justice; forgiveness and courage; forgiveness and the wisdom to know when to start forgiving. Together, these virtues help us to avoid extremes such as forgiving and then putting up with nonsense and doing so repeatedly.
Forgive and stand up for justice.