Archive for October, 2020

I am a religious person, a Christian, and I do not see any directive in scripture for forgiving oneself. Thus, I say it does not exist. What do you say?

I refer you to Mark 12:31 in the New Testament: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  We are urged there to apply the moral virtue of love to ourselves.  What is self-forgiveness?  It is applying the moral virtue of love toward the self when you have broken your own standards. 

For additional information, see Faith and Religion.

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What is a good definition of self-forgiveness and how does it differ from forgiving another person?

Self-forgiveness occurs when people, upon rational reflection, realize that they have broken their own moral standards.  They then decide and try to rid themselves of resentment toward the self and to offer love once again to the self, seeing the self’s worth.  Self-forgiving differs from forgiving others in this:  When people break their own standards they often offend other people in that action.  Thus, as people self-forgive, then they need to go to those others who were offended and seek forgiveness from them.

For additional information, see Self-Forgiveness.

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I have heard that self-forgiveness is impossible because you cannot be your own judge and be the defendant at the same time. What do you think?

Self-forgiveness does not take place in a court of law, but within the human heart.  We judge our own behavior all the time: Was that the right decision?  Was I overly harsh with my friend?  When people reason that they have broken their own standard, then they can forgive themselves.

For additional information, see Self-Forgiveness.

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I have heard a lot lately that certain offenses never should be forgiven.  Incest is an example.  So many say that a women who experiences such abuse is foolish to forgive, to offer mercy to the perpetrator.  This makes me so sad for our society that lets bitterness cloud perception.  In my view, forgiveness in this case literally is the only way to heal from the atrocity.  She can set herself free.  I am wondering what your view is of this.

I, too, see a strong tendency in some people to condemn those who forgive atrocities.  Yet, forgiveness is one of those moral virtues that is the chose of the one who was treated unjustly.  If a person chooses to forgive, this truly is the person’s free will decision and others should not stand in the way, insisting that their own will be the final decision.  Even if forgiving is “the only way to heal,” we should not try to force others to forgive.  This is because the choice whether or not to forgive belongs to the one injured.  You could present the case for forgiving, but in the end, the other, upon weighing the evidence, needs to decide.

For additional information, see Forgiveness is a Choice.

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