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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › Forgiveness for Self or Others

Forgiveness for Self or Others

Charlotte, NC
Post #: 40
Brainstorm: Forgiveness for self or others

1. Forgiveness is mostly a psychological process.
2. Forgiveness affects the forgiver in one way and the forgiven in another.
3. When I forgive someone, I am giving away my resentment. In that sense forgiveness is a gift that becomes absolution when received. Even though I’ve given up resentment and the other can feel absolved, the original action cannot be erased.
4. Suppose you owe me $20 and I later forgive your debt. For real forgiveness the borrowing transaction is wiped clean, i.e. there is no further expectation from either person, with regard to that transaction. It is one kind of forgiveness to erase the transaction, which is like forgetting it ever happened, or zeroing the debt column, which is like forgiving but not forgetting. Forgiving and forgetting is a restoration of trust; while forgiving without forgetting does not restore trust.
5. Emotionally, forgiveness feels like a catharsis, i.e. a cleansing of a harm and restoration to a healthy relationship. Both benefit from the cleansing and the restoration and both have emotional feelings associated with forgiving and being forgiven.
6. Forgiveness has an evolutionary benefit by reducing conflict in a social group.
7. Our legal system uses punishment as a way to earn forgiveness. Some feel like people who have done wrong deserve punishment. But that punishment should be in proportion to the crime. However, the death penalty cannot be viewed as a way to earn forgiveness, i.e. it is vengeance with no possibility of forgiveness.
8. I am goal directed and expect just actions. If someone does something that doesn’t interfere with my goals, then I can forgive them. On the other hand, I insist on justice when the action does interfere with my goal, i.e. I wish compensation.
9. Granting forgiveness depends on the severity of the offence.
10. What motivates forgiveness? I can easily forgive an accident; but I don’t forgive ignorance.
11. The important thing is to move on with your life; and I don’t think that forgiveness is necessary, i.e. moving on can be done without forgiveness.
12. In terms of the self, I can forgive or begrudge. Keeping track of mistakes cost a lot of mental energy, which can be spent more productively. But from the other viewpoint, I am not interested in receiving an apology. What I want to see is a change of behavior.
13. Forgiving others should be given more freely, because once I forgive them, it is up to them to do something with it. But forgiving myself, doesn’t absolve me; I must do the work of changing my behavior.
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