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.
I am ambivalent about “giving a gift” to the one who offended me. I do not think he will accept it. This likely will make me angry all over again. What do you suggest?
A complete sense of forgiving, or the essence of what forgiving is, includes this giving of a gift to the one who hurt you. Yet, you do not have to reach the deepest sense of forgiving to be practicing this moral virtue. If you are not ready to give a gift and if you have reduced your resentment and commit to do no harm to the one who hurt you, then you are forgiving at this point.
I want to reconcile, but my partner keeps being mean to me. What do I do now?
If you want to forgive, I think you also need to ask for fairness. Then see how receptive your partner is to this call for justice. If you forgive first from your heart, then how you ask for justice likely will be more gentle than if you do so with deep anger. As we both know, it is important that your partner then see your pain and respond in a reasonable way to you.
Can you really forgive someone who has died?
Yes. It is not complete forgiveness in that you forgive, the other accepts that, and then you happily reconcile. Yet, you can say a kind word about the person to others or donate some money to a charity in that person’s name. This is gift-giving in an indirect sense and mercy in the form of gift-giving is part of forgiveness.
I have a friend who says he “transcends the pain” caused by someone else’s injustice. He thinks this “non-feeling” is the endpoint of what forgiveness is. This kind of “non-feeling” does not seem to be forgiveness in my view. What do you think? Is this forgiveness?
Because forgiveness is a process, a person who forgives can move from hatred, to some anger, to very little or no anger. Yet, there is more to the process of forgiveness and this includes moving toward the moral virtue of goodness that includes positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors toward the one who offended. If your friend thinks that the endpoint of forgiveness is “non-feeling,” then this person is not understanding what the endpoint of forgiveness is. On the other hand, if this person knows the endpoint and is not there yet, then the person definitely is on the path of what forgiveness actually is in its essence.