Ask Dr. Forgiveness
What is more important, justice or forgiveness?
I do not think you should choose between them. Plato placed justice at the top of the moral virtue hierarchy in this book, The Republic. I think agape love (in service to others even when it is painful to do so) is the highest because it includes being just to others and forgiving others. We need both justice and forgiveness under the umbrella of agape to have the best world and in the case of justice and forgiveness, the best of both worlds of these virtues.
The other’s behavior repulses me. Does this mean I have not forgiven?
You can be repulsed by the other’s behavior when you forgive, but a central point of forgiving is to separate the person and the behavior. The challenge is to see the person as possessing inherent worth even if you are repulsed by the behavior.
Is respect or love higher in the forgiveness process?
Both are worthy parts of forgiving. You can respect a person from a distance. When you love, you are entering into a deeper commitment to aiding the other person, as best you can, given your particular circumstance with this person at the moment. This “entering-in” makes love deeper, more special, and more challenging.
Can I forgive without feeling compassion for the one who hurt me?
Think of forgiving, when treated deeply unfairly by others, as a journey. It takes time and effort and so not all components of forgiving are present at once. If you begin the journey and have reduced some resentment toward the one who hurt you, then you are forgiving to the extent possible right now on that part of the journey you happen to be on now. Compassion may come later. Even if it does not, please remember that you do not have to be a perfect forgiver to give yourself credit on the forgiveness journey.
Would you please clarify “bearing the pain”? It seems to invite pain.
Bearing the pain when forgiving does not invite new pain. Instead, you face the reality that others have treated you unjustly. Rather than run from that pain, you stand up emotionally and maturely and commit to not passing that pain to others.