Ask Dr. Forgiveness
I actually have 15 questions based on recent reading I have done regarding forgiveness. It seems that there is an emerging spirit of the times which is quite critical of what forgiveness is and what it does. So, I will address each of the criticisms, one at a time, which I have found for your reaction. First of 15 criticisms: Forgiveness is a fad creating pressure on people to forgive.
I have a book entitled, Forgiveness Is a Choice. It is deliberate that I chose the word “Choice ” to emphasize that forgiveness as a moral virtue is under the control of free will, not of external social pressure. You are free to begin forgiving when you are ready. Pressure from others, if it is too insistent, can lead to a quick and superficial “forgiveness.”
The second of 15 criticisms I have seen about forgiving: Forgiving is a ridiculous caving in to others’ demands.
Forgiveness and justice grow up together. As one forgives, one can and should ask for fairness from the one who is behaving unjustly.
The third of 15 criticisms I have seen about forgiveness: Forgiveness is a herd mentality. People only forgive because everyone else is forgiving. It is a way to conform, to fit in with the crowd.
While others’ forgiving can be a positive encouragement for you, your forgiving still is your own free will decision, as in your point 1 which we addressed.
The fourth of 15 criticisms I see about forgiveness: To forgive is toxic. It hurts the forgiver because he now is giving in to the unfair person’s demands and this relationship, which is toxic, hurts the forgiver.
When you forgive, you need not reconcile if the other continues to abuse you. Forgiveness as a free will choice is not toxic. It can set you free of resentment even if you don’t reconcile.
The fifth of 15 criticisms I see about forgiveness: Forgiveness is a sign of internal moral weakness because you do not stand up for your rights.
As stated in the second point you asked, as you forgive you should ask for justice. This combination of justice and forgiveness is a sign of strength, not weakness.