Is there more than one definition of forgiveness?
There are many people who have different definitions of forgiveness, but in the vast majority of cases, people assert their definitions without defending them or explaining how they arrived at that definition. We at the International Forgiveness Institute rely on the teaching of the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, because he has, in our view, the most comprehensive ideas of what constitutes any moral virtue. He gives complete descriptions of the moral virtues, in other words, without reducing the meaning of the virtues. With that in mind, we define forgiving this way: When treated unfairly by others, a person forgives by willingly working on reducing negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and striving to offer more positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors toward them. At the same time, the forgiver does not excuse the unjust behavior, automatically reconcile, or abandon the quest for justice.