I once heard an academic say that forgiveness hurts relationships because it is good to sometimes vent and express anger.  What do you think?

I think we need to make important distinctions in answering this question.  To express anger is not incompatible with forgiving.  We have to distinguish short-term anger, in which the offended person shows self-respect, and long-term and deep anger in which the person harbors a grudge and keeps the offense in front of the one who behaved badly.  The short-term anger is meant to alter the injustice and correct the other person’s injustice.  A person can show such anger, correct the other person, and then forgive.  The long-term variety of anger, in contrast, can be a tool for punishing the other, with no end in sight.  The important message here is to avoid sweeping generalities about anger and about forgiveness.  To presume that one cannot be angry and forgive is reductionism which then distorts what forgiveness is and how it can be used productively in a relationship.

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