When Is Forgiveness A Mistake?

16 replies
  • OFF TOPIC
  • |
I've been contemplating forgiveness. Some people adhere to the dogma that forgiveness is always the best approach. However, I've come across compelling arguments that forgiveness can be a terrible mistake with damaging results, including actual brain damage:
Forgiveness Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be : NPR
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/he...mind.html?_r=0
  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    I agree. When an action is purposefully malicious and committed for the sole benefit of the person committing it, with no care about how badly it hurts someone else, I don't forgive, forget - or ever even communicate with the person again.

    Forgiveness is actually supposed to be a release for the person who does the forgiving. It keeps them from bottling up a lot of resentment and from obsessing over revenge or their hurt. I find that writing the perp off as dead to me and just refusing to communicate with them again keeps me from dwelling on the incident as well as from harboring obsessions for revenge. It happened, they caused it - they no longer exist. End of story. Out of mind - out of life. The only reason to even bother to remember it is so it doesn't happen again.
    Signature

    Sal
    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7864083].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    Sal hit the naiul on the head.
    She basically said the same thing most people tell me whenw e talk about forgiveness.
    "Forgiveness is actually supposed to be a release for the person who does the forgiving. It keeps them from bottling up a lot of resentment and from obsessing over revenge or their hurt. I find that writing the perp off as dead to me and just refusing to communicate with them again keeps me from dwelling on the incident as well as from harboring obsessions for revenge. It happened, they caused it - they no longer exist. End of story. Out of mind - out of life. The only reason to even bother to remember it is so it doesn't happen again."

    Forgiveness is for yourself,not the other person.

    But even going with that theory,it means I should be able to forgive someone that has wronged me.
    There are two people in my life that have done things that I can never forgive,no matter how much I try.

    The best I've been able to do it to put them in compartments of my mind that are never even thought about unless someone else brings them up. Sadly that brings the ill will back to my mind and it takes me time to get it gone again.

    I hope one day I actually can sincerely forgive them,for my sake.
    Signature

    Read A Post.
    Subscribe to a Newsletter
    KimWinfrey.Com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7864612].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author lcombs
    Anger and negative thoughts and feelings are very damaging to the one who holds them.
    To say say nothing of the fact that they are a waste of time and energy.
    The perp IS dead to me.
    Should I meet them in public I ignore them and usually leave.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7864697].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Kahlil Gibran, from "The Prophet" - On Crime And Punishment:


    Crime and Punishment



    Then one of the judges of the city stood forth and said, "Speak to us of Crime and Punishment."
    And he answered saying:
    It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,
    That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself.
    And for that wrong committed must you knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.
    Like the ocean is your god-self;
    It remains for ever undefiled.
    And like the ether it lifts but the winged.
    Even like the sun is your god-self;
    It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
    But your god-self does not dwell alone in your being.
    Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
    But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist searching for its own awakening.
    And of the man in you would I now speak.
    For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist, that knows crime and the punishment of crime.
    Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
    But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
    So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.

    And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
    So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.

    Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
    You are the way and the wayfarers.
    And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
    Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.
    And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts:
    The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder,
    And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed.
    The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked,
    And the white-handed is not clean in the doings of the felon.
    Yea, the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured,
    And still more often the condemned is the burden-bearer for the guiltless and unblamed.
    You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked;
    For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together.
    And when the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.
    If any of you would bring judgment the unfaithful wife,
    Let him also weight the heart of her husband in scales, and measure his soul with measurements.
    And let him who would lash the offender look unto the spirit of the offended.
    And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots;
    And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth.
    And you judges who would be just,
    What judgment pronounce you upon him who though honest in the flesh yet is a thief in spirit?
    What penalty lay you upon him who slays in the flesh yet is himself slain in the spirit?

    And how prosecute you him who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor,
    Yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?

    And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?
    Is not remorse the justice which is administered by that very law which you would fain serve?
    Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty.
    Unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.
    And you who would understand justice, how shall you unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?
    Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self,
    And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7864746].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    John,
    I think I have had 4 copies of The Prophet over the years.
    The only other book(s) that have surpassed it are LOTR Trilogy.
    Signature

    Read A Post.
    Subscribe to a Newsletter
    KimWinfrey.Com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7864831].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by KimW View Post

      John,
      I think I have had 4 copies of The Prophet over the years.
      The only other book(s) that have surpassed it are LOTR Trilogy.
      I'm tempted to think it may be the greatest book of all time to me. I have also been inspired alot by Og Mandino's Greatest Salesman in the World. Its much more than a book about sales. I believe it was divinely inspired as I believe about The Prophet.

      Sometimes writers just tap into something greater than themselves. I think Kahlil did with this book.

      Whats the LOTR Trilogy? Im curious.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7865019].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
        I think that would be the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

        Terra
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7865060].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    Forgiveness is never a mistake. Always forgive and never forget.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7864850].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Unforgiveness is a ball and chain. You can drag it around with you or free yourself from it. Sometimes the latter option can seem more difficult than the first.
    Signature

    Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7865089].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Polomka
    Forgiveness is very hard to give in some circumstances and although I understand it is more for the person doing the forgiving, instead of carrying around that ball and chain, it still isn't always easy to do.

    I must say I do have a couple of circumstances that have happened in my past that I haven't forgiven and probably never will and I don't think the people involved really deserve forgiveness. However, for my benefit, I still don't think forgiveness is the answer, to me, that is saying that it is ok for them to have done what they did.

    Rather than forgiveness, I have learned acceptance. I have accepted what happened and have accepted that the people involved are not like me, they are different and have different beliefs and different morals. I accept that and I accept that is the way life is. Doesn't mean I have to like it and forgive it, but acceptance has allowed me to get rid of the ball and chain and be happy with where I am.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7865121].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author HeySal
      Originally Posted by Sheryl Polomka View Post

      Forgiveness is very hard to give in some circumstances and although I understand it is more for the person doing the forgiving, instead of carrying around that ball and chain, it still isn't always easy to do.

      I must say I do have a couple of circumstances that have happened in my past that I haven't forgiven and probably never will and I don't think the people involved really deserve forgiveness. However, for my benefit, I still don't think forgiveness is the answer, to me, that is saying that it is ok for them to have done what they did.

      Rather than forgiveness, I have learned acceptance. I have accepted what happened and have accepted that the people involved are not like me, they are different and have different beliefs and different morals. I accept that and I accept that is the way life is. Doesn't mean I have to like it and forgive it, but acceptance has allowed me to get rid of the ball and chain and be happy with where I am.
      That's more toward the way I look at it. Things happen. We can be uptight about them for the rest of our lives or just blow them off. We learn something, it was just another experience in the chain of experiences. I don't feel you have to forgive to not stew in resentment forever. I have too much to do to think about how terrible something was that happened or sit and plot against someone. Since it's not legal to kill them, best just to get on with life and keep away from the perp.
      Signature

      Sal
      When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
      Beyond the Path

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7865319].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author art72
        Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

        Since it's not legal to kill them, best just to get on with life and keep away from the perp.
        HeySal... Love the way you think!
        Signature
        Coming Soon... *Laser Targeted Lead Generation Services
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7866456].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
        Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

        I don't feel you have to forgive to not stew in resentment forever.
        Amen! Oh, damn, what am I saying.:rolleyes:

        Joe Mobley
        Signature

        .

        Follow Me on Twitter: @daVinciJoe
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7867466].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author art72
    Forgiveness for me has not always been easy, as others have stated.

    However, I feel my understanding is evolving, and in the act of learning to forgive (and not necessarily forget) there is one act of forgiveness to me that remains the most challenging, which in my opinion represents a mistake... and that is in forgiving myself too quickly and in doing so, deduce the mistakes I've made along the path as if to forget them.

    In short, if we are quick to forgive ourselves or excuse our actions too quickly, we never really learn anything from the source that created the problem to begin with... let's use ignorance for an example.

    If I excuse myself from blame, claim ignorance, and swiftly forgive myself (as many do) then I likely will not stand accountable for my actions (in this case be it some wrongdoings) and as such, do not acknowledge the source of the problem, but rather sweep it under the carpet... then, it is likely that ignorance will repeat, and the whole cycle will refresh later in life.

    What I have learned is to stand accountable, not be too quick to forgive (myself in this example) and instead, choose to recognize there was a problem, be it my own ignorance, as it may be... then seek the ability to understand it and gain knowledge over it, as opposed to reliving/repeating the mistake(s) of discounting my actions with forgiveness.

    As I recently posted in another thread, I chose to forgive another who wronged my family... a synonym for forgiveness is mercy.

    If there IS one enemy I regard as my greatest threat... it IS my own ignorance, thus mercy is not an antidote to providing solution to my problem solving, but rather a mistake should I forfeit the responsibilities that follow to seek solutions... which would be to correct upon those actions, as opposed to pleading ignorant, and ignoring the problem all together.

    Hence, to forgive oneself in this example, would be a mistake. Now, if in doing so, you found solution... be from acknowledging wrongdoing per se, and in earning such forgiveness (mercy) - you then (appreciated the forgiveness) sought knowledge to reconcile future wrongdoings... then so be it. It would be just to forgive.

    Too many people seek forgiveness as a form of sympathy or pity, and when receiving said forgiveness, it does them little to no good as they learned nothing, remain ignorant, and earned no right to the value delivered upon them. If the person seeking forgiveness does so as a manipulation to avoid correction, cries mercy, and strikes again... let em burn in hell, for clearly they'd be better off there...than to continue finding reason to be forgiven and in seeking mercy.

    Lets hope in forgiveness/mercy - the recipients appreciate the gesture, and do something to reconcile their ignorance, and find gratitude for those who do truly forgive.

    I hope that makes sense... kind of a slippery slope trying to put it in words.

    Art
    Signature
    Coming Soon... *Laser Targeted Lead Generation Services
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7865258].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Forgiveness may be therapeutic to the forgiver but
    forgiveness always involves loss. When someone
    hurts you and you forgive them you are giving up
    the right to demand your pound of flesh from your
    offender. So you lose.

    Justice demands that the guilty pay for their crime
    against you but forgiveness means that you accept
    the loss. This is not a human transaction but divine.

    That's why it's often said to err is human but to
    forgive is divine.

    -Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7867573].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      forgiveness means that you accept
      the loss. This is not a human transaction but divine.

      That's why it's often said to err is human but to
      forgive is divine.

      -Ray Edwards
      I agree with your last statement there Ray. To me personally a higher mentality is believing that the "Loss" is made up for when you "give" forgiveness, because we always receive from giving. Your "pound of flesh" will be returned for the grace you give naturally, you dont HAVE to take it out of someones hide.

      Unless vengeance is your aim. Why return pain with pain...? Why not break the cycle instead and be a light, and attempt to inspire the wrongdoer?

      This is subjective. If the wrong doer is a danger to society they must be put away, but in our personal lives ,for most of what we hold as offenses, most things can be overlooked and we receive a return for the grace we give. We may even possibly inspire our offenders to be better people.

      I dont want a "pound of flesh", what good does that do me or anyone?

      Half the things we are offended about arent even real offenses, merely imagined slights. I know people who are mad at the whole world and every other person they meet offends them. It isnt the woprld, it's them. What if they took vengeance out on everyone they felt offended by?

      Forgiveness is the lesser of two evils. Maybe you DONT get a return from it...lets say, but at least you dont continue the cycle of vengeance.

      There is more loss to be had by continuing the cycle than from letting it go.

      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      forgiveness means that you accept
      the loss. This is not a human transaction but divine.

      That's why it's often said to err is human but to
      forgive is divine.

      -Ray Edwards
      Absolutely brother. Why not strive to be more divine, and inspire more of it from others? It's worth a try anyway, the opposite only perpetuates the cycle of vengeance, and no one gains from that, there is only more loss... Im with YOU, Ray.

      -John
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7867944].message }}

Trending Topics