When “forgiveness” is not forgiveness

We recently did an Internet search in which we typed in the term “forgiveness in the news.”  On the first page there were 13 entries.  Of those 13, 12 were about “student loan forgiveness.”  This is a term that has been used for years within the media.  We at the International Forgiveness Institute would like to clarify an important issue.  “Student loan forgiveness” is not the correct term for the following reasons:

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  1. To forgive means that the one forgiven has done something morally wrong, but the students did not act unjustly as they engaged in the proper procedures to secure those loans.
  2. There is a difference between a legal pardon and forgiveness. When there is legal pardon, there is mercy shown, in this case by exonerating the students from paying back the loans or at least part of those loans.  Yet, the ones exonerating are not personally hurt by the students and so they are not engaging in forgiving the students.

The proper term would be “student loan pardons.”  This would be more accurate and not lead people to inadvertently distort the meaning of the word “forgiveness.”

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