Archive for August, 2022

I think it might be hard to help adolescents learn to appreciate forgiving.  I say this because they are in a developmental time of independence or trying to be self-reliant.  Will they really sit and listen to you about forgiveness?

Forgiveness, according to Aristotle, develops in part by practice and by the support of others for that practice.  I suggest what we might call “teachable moments.”  Suppose you are watching a film together and there is conflict among the characters.  You could ask this of the adolescent: “What might have happened if Character A forgave Character B rather than seeking revenge?”  Another teachable moment is at the dinner table when people may be talking about their experiences that day.  If someone has had a conflict at school or at work, then discuss this with an eye toward forgiveness as still a possible option.

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Is asking for forgiveness different from apologizing?

To apologize is part of asking for forgiveness but does not constitute the entire process.  Asking for forgiveness includes the development of remorse or inner sorrow.  Then comes repentance or apology.  Finally, there is recompense or trying one’s best to make up for what happened.

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I have confidence in forgiveness when I think I have 100% confidence that the other person will “shape up.”  I have less confidence in forgiveness if I think my forgiving will not lead to a good change in the other person.  What do you think about this?

When we forgive, we decide to be good to someone (or more than one person) who was unfair to us.  There is no guarantee that the other person will change as we offer this mercy.  So, I would encourage you to change your thinking about what forgiveness is.  It is freely given to the other person(s) even when there is no guarantee that the other will gladly accept your generous offering and then change for the better.

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What is the difference between accepting and forgiving?

The major difference between forgiving and acceptance is that forgiving always and without exception is a merciful response toward other people who behaved badly (and its highest form is loving the other) while acceptance can occur when there is no injustice from other people and can include refraining from the negative without a response of love.  I have a blog essay on this website from 2018 that gives further details of this difference between acceptance and forgiveness here:

What Is the Difference Between Acceptance and Forgiveness?

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What is the difference between forgiveness and what is all over the news lately as “student loan forgiveness”?

Forgiveness is a moral virtue in which a person is good to those who are not good to the forgiver.  This is a free-will decision and done for the one who was unfair.  “Student loan forgiveness” is very different because the students who took out a loan did not act unjustly.  Therefore, this is more like a legal pardon from a stated obligation rather than anything to do with the moral virtue of forgiving people who acted unjustly.

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