Tagged: “emotional forgiveness”

A friend of mine said that as she forgives, she is worried that it might lower her self-esteem because as she focuses on the one who was unjust, she will be reliving the pain and the put-downs from the other person. What do you think?

There is a paradox of forgiving in that as you reach out to others with forgiveness, offering a second chance as well as kindness and love, it is you, the giver, who heals. Scientific studies have demonstrated the validity of this paradox.

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It seems to me that forgiveness should not happen until the one who acted badly repents. We as forgivers then are showing concern for the other as we withhold the forgiving until this person changes behavior toward the good. So, unconditional forgiving, offering it prior to the other’s repentance is not the way to go. What do you think?

You can forgive and then support the person in repenting and changing behavior. There is no rule of human behavior that states that a person cannot repent once you initiate forgiveness toward that person.

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I have seen the criticism that forgiveness can be soft on crime. In other words, a forgiving heart might make people think that prisons are no longer needed, but it all comes down to compassion and rehabilitation. I think this is dangerous thinking because some people simply behave badly no matter how compassionately we respond to them.

This argument confuses forgiveness and legal pardon. A person can forgive and see that it is important that a person, who remains a danger to society, stays in a correctional institution.

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Why is it important for me as the forgiver to see that the one who offended me and I share a common humanity?

It is important so that you do not dismiss this person as less than you are.  Both of you are persons and because each person is special, unique, and irreplaceable, this perspective can change our views of the other from condemnation to the idea that this is a person even when behaving badly.  This may aid you in softening your heart toward that person as you forgive.

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I have a follow-up question to the one I asked you about the Global Perspective. Because the Global Perspective, or seeing the common humanity between the one who was unfair and me, seems kind of abstract, will it take a long time for me to engage in the exercises of the Global Perspective?

Just because the Global Perspective is more abstract than the Personal Perspective, this does not mean that it will necessarily take you longer to work through this perspective. This is the case because, as I explained in my earlier response to you, this perspective is quite accessible as you see a common humanity between the two of you.

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