Tagged: “Inherent Worth”

Does one need humility in order to forgive well?

As we forgive, we begin to see the inherent worth in both the one who acted unjustly and in ourselves.  Yes, I do think it requires humility to not feel superior toward the other person who acted badly.  Humility shows us that we are not better or worse than others. To see both of you as human, both in need of respect and love, requires the moral virtue of humility.  These two viruses, humility and forgiveness,  constitute an important team.

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How would you define forgivable offenses? To be particular, can someone forgive another’s failure or deficiency in character (even if there was no wrongful act committed by the person)? For instance, someone might be indifferent to me without meaning to hurt me, but I might still feel offended while knowing he or she didn’t do anything wrong to me. Thank you.

Deficiency of character will come out as behavior, either as a bad act (an act of commission) or as a failure to act when one should (an act of omission). When a person treats you with indifference, this is an act of omission because you are a person of worth and others should not treat you as if you were invisible. This, of course, does not mean that we have to pour ourselves out for everyone we meet. Your example centers on actual interactions which make you feel ignored. We should not treat others as if they do not count or have no worth (an act of omission). When this occurs, those so ignored can, if they choose, forgive the other.

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You used the term “full humanity” in answering my earlier question. What do you mean by that term?

So often, when people are unjustly treated by another person, they tend to focus only on those unjust actions, viewing the other only in terms of those behaviors.  Upon entering the forgiveness process, the people tend to expand their story of the other, seeing this person now more broadly, seeing that there is much more to this other person than only those unjust actions against them.

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Why do you say that I likely will forgive better if I see the “potentiality” for love in the one who hurt me? To be quite honest with you, all I see is narcissism in the one who abruptly walked out on our relationship.

Aristotle makes the important distinction between Actuality (what is occurring now) and Potentiality (what underlies the current situation, including the capacity for greater perfection, even if we never reach true perfection).  The one who abandoned you had the potential within to grow as a person, to develop more goodness within that then can be behaviorally demonstrated outwardly to others, including you. The narcissism of the other is a current Actuality.  The person is capable of much more with conscious, deliberate effort to bring out a fuller humanity, a deeper sense and expression of love.

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