Archive for August, 2020

Is it possible to forgive too much? If so, what would that look like?

Can you be too fair with people? In other words, is there a situation in which the practice of justice can be too much? I do not think so because all of the moral virtues are good and so the practice of the virtues also is good. What you might have in mind is what we call false-forgiveness. In such a case, people, for example, are continually trying to put on a show of their own high virtue and so they are insincere. Also, if someone distorts forgiving by isolating it so that no justice occurs along with forgiveness, then an unhealthy and hasty reconciliation might occur. So, if the forgiving is genuine and is balanced with justice, then there is no such thing as too much forgiving.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.

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I have started to forgive, but sometimes my anger gets the better of me. I get so angry that I lose focus. What would you recommend?

I would recommend first being aware of the increase in your anger and the degree to which this is happening. Then I would reflect on how the anger itself is compromising you and your health in particular. This can be a motivation to exercise your strong will to continue forgiving. As you continue to persevere in forgiving, then the anger will not be controlling you, but you will be in control of your anger.

For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness. 

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I have begun conversations with someone with whom I have been estranged for about a year. She claims that she wants to forgive and reconcile, but I so often see non-verbal cues such as frowns and even rolled-eyes coming at me. What part of the forgiveness process should I engage when this happens?

I would recommend starting at the beginning and seeing your frustration or anger and then move through the entire process again. This may occur more quickly and with deeper results when you begin again. Only after you have worked through the forgiveness process to some degree might you consider gently talking with her about the discrepancy between her words of forgiving and her non-verbal cues that she is not forgiving.

Have You Been Betrayed? 5 Suggestions for You.

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I am thinking of bringing a friend on my forgiveness journey. Please keep in mind that the friend and I actually are forgiving the same person, our employer. Is it a good idea that my forgiveness partner be forgiving the same person as I am forgiving, or should I seek someone else as the forgiveness partner?

I think it would be better in this circumstance to have a forgiveness partner who has not experienced the same injustice as you from the same person. I say this because your mutually-shared resentment might hold one or both of you back from advancing in forgiving or perhaps in giving each other accurate feedback in how well you are progressing in forgiveness. A person who is not angry with the same offender may be more objective in giving you feedback.

For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.

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I am feeling somewhat “wishy-washy” about forgiving a friend for something she did to me. My question to you is how deeply committed do I have to be in order to actually go ahead and forgive?

Your commitment to forgive, as you see, can vary from very low to very high. This can fluctuate across time, too. A key is this: Are you ready to commit, no matter how small that is, to doing no harm to the one who hurt you? Also, do you see clearly what forgiveness is and is not (it is not excusing or automatically reconciling, for example)? If you have some motivation to do no harm and understand what forgiveness is, then you are ready to move forward in the forgiveness process.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Is a Choice.

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