Must We Always Forgive?
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20-11-2012, 10:05 PM
Must We Always Forgive?
When I was a Christian I almost felt obligated to forgive those who did me wrong. Now I no longer feel that obligation.

Maybe in cases where it's better to forgive than to harbor things to save a friendship, relationship or relations with a family member but what about in instances when the person is the type to completely walk all over you over and over again or take advantage of you?

Would it be okay not to forgive?
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20-11-2012, 10:14 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
Of course it's not a "must."

However, when people are assholes over and over, and show no signs of stopping, I do cut them out of my life. I'd say I do also forgive them, in the sense of not spending my days hating them, but that doesn't mean I want to keep putting up with their shit.
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20-11-2012, 10:59 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
I hated being forced to forgive.

Not sure if people realize this or not, but God's salvation is more than just accepting Jesus as your savior. Salvation requires more than simple belief, and one of those requirements is to forgive others who hurt you. Matthew 6:14-15 says, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

WTF? I thought salvation was a free gift. But it turns out if I am unwilling to forgive you for chopping off my balls, my sins will not be forgiven and I will end up in Helltown.

Kpax, you don't owe any thing to someone who hasn't made any restitution for wronging you. And even if they do make restitution for hurting you, you're still not obligated to forgive. I advise from a psychological point of view that you probably need to find a way to move past the incident so you're not emotionally consumed by it, but I'm not sure that has to be the sort of "forgive and forget" kind of forgiveness the Bible teaches. In fact, Forgive, but Remember seems to be a much better saying. Smile

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20-11-2012, 11:08 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
What does it mean "to forgive"?



Just telling someone "I forgive you" may not mean anything if you still feel hurt, disappointed, angry, etc.

and I don't think "forgiveness" is something you do consciously.

I mean, you don't wake up one day and say "Ok, today I'm going to forgive that fucker". No, forgiveness is
much more complex than that.

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20-11-2012, 11:10 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
(20-11-2012 10:59 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I hated being forced to forgive.
Nobody can't be forced to forgive. It's like being forced to love, to hate, etc.

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20-11-2012, 11:11 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
(20-11-2012 10:59 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  In fact, Forgive, but Remember seems to be a much better saying. Smile
Agreed. I have some people this applies to. I got a crazy aunt that periodically goes batshit insane and hates everyone, I have a former friend who spreads lies and rumors and hate years after any of us have spoken to her. But I forgive them in the sense I am not boiling over with hate. If they came to my house right this minute and were acting reasonable, I would act reasonable right back. But yeah, you need to remember than some people are really unstable and fucked up, and keep that in mind when dealing with them. I've basically got a 3 strikes, you're out policy: if you do really horrible unprovoked shit enough times, I will stop contacting you and avoid you. Doesn't mean I won't forgive you, but also doesn't mean I'm going to keep putting myself in the line of fire.

If someone does horrible shit to you, it's ok to be boiling over with anger for a while, but I'm glad I don't do that for very long. Seems like a waste of time thinking about people I don't like, so I do just let it go.

ETA: What KVron said. I never tell people "I forgive you," when I talk about forgiveness I mean not harboring ill feelings toward a person any longer, even though they might deserve it. I don't think you can force it though, but you can be forced to tell people you forgive them.
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20-11-2012, 11:13 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
Some things are forgivable, others are not. Some things are forgettable, others are not. That's the stone cold truth, take it or leave it.

Only you can decide what trespasses are which.

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20-11-2012, 11:19 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
You don't have to forgive anybody for anything ever. You just have to be irrational to do so. Sometimes, it makes sense to do, but it's not a social requirement.

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20-11-2012, 11:21 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
(20-11-2012 11:10 PM)KVron Wrote:  
(20-11-2012 10:59 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I hated being forced to forgive.
Nobody can't be forced to forgive. It's like being forced to love, to hate, etc.
You sir, have not been a fundamentalist in fear of losing your eternal life. Drinking Beverage

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20-11-2012, 11:28 PM
RE: Must We Always Forgive?
Hey, Kpax.

Forgiveness is different than tit for tat. Amy touches on the distinction.

Tit for tat is an important part of human altruism.

If someone is always taking advantage of you, tit for tat says retaliate. There's nothing wrong with that; however, without forgiveness, tit for tat becomes a positive feedback loop. The only possible outcome is a series of escalating retaliations. Cooperate --> cooperate --> retaliate --> forgive --> cooperate, becomes cooperate --> cooperate --> retaliate --> retaliate --> retaliate ad infinitum. Forgiveness is an integral component of societal living.

People lie, cheat, steal, cause harm, and a million other things. We ALL do it. Without forgiveness, we would not be able to live together.

You don't have to do anything. You could abandon forgiveness entirely if you want. But as Chris Rock says, "Shit, you can drive a car with your feet if you want to, that don't make it a good fucking idea!"

Forgiveness is also an important part of recognising the humanity of others. When we decide that people are beyond forgiveness, there is typically a corresponding denial of their humanity as well. Jeffrey Dahmer is beyond forgiveness to some because 'he's a monster', not a human. It ties in with the salvationist notion that people are either good or evil as states of being. The powerful narrative of Star Wars is an indictment of this idea. The Lucas/Jungian idea is that we constantly make decisions about whether or not we use our psychic energy for light or dark, but that we are never bound by a single choice. We can fall at any moment and we can be redeemed at any moment. This is the journey of Darth Vader; a man corrupted by darkness who ultimately sacrifices his life in a final act of redemption.

Forgiveness is health. It makes one healthy. It helps maintain healthy relationships. It helps maintain social stability. It is the control mechanism that allows relationships to be governed by negative feedback; to constantly self-regulate and find equilibrium. It's a social thermostat. But forgiveness cannot be confused with being a pushover. Forgiving someone doesn't remove all traces of responsibility on their part.

Should you always forgive? Ideally, yes. In the most difficult cases, it is a shining example of our ability to empathise with the condition of others; one of our most profoundly human traits. Do people always forgive? No they do not and there are very real consequences for that.





Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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