I was talking recently with a person who has been in law enforcement. He said that forgiveness in this context may not be effective because those in law enforcement have more of an emphasis on such virtues as courage and heroism. Forgiveness, he said, seems too weak of a virtue for his group. What do you think?
Forgiveness too often is misunderstood as weakness. Yet, what other moral virtue (whether it is justice or kindness or patience) is more heroic than forgiveness, which asks the forgiver to stand in the pain and from that position to offer goodness toward the one who injured the forgiver? This issue of deliberately being good to those who are not good to the forgiver is heroic. The person is committing to do no harm to the one who offended, and for that person’s good. This is strength, not weakness, especially when we realize that the one who forgives also can ask for justice from the one who has been behaving badly. The quest for justice, then, is likely to be more fair than seeking justice when the injured person is fuming with rage.
Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness
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