It is said that you can find peace and you can move on after someone has hurt you bad without forgiving them.  If so, the only way to move on is to make this affirmation: "This is too big for me to handle right now.  Maybe it will always be too big.  I accept that.  I have better things to do than mull over it.  I am so confident about this."

The following six things are said to be forgiveness.

One, it is the letting go of the desire to see the offender suffer the same evil as he or she has done to you or to a loved one.  You cease wanting to hurt them back.   This is an emotion and it can be slight or very severe. 

Two, it is letting go of intending evil to happen to them.  This might not be accompanied by the actual feeling of desire at all.  We intend to do things we feel nothing about.

Three, it is letting go of the anger.   Anger can range from being nearly harmless to you when it is weak but very destructive to you when it is strong.

Four, it is letting go of the feelings of hurt.  Again these feelings can hurt you a tiny bit but if they get stronger the more harm they will do to you.

Five, it is an act of love for the one who wronged you.  In doing this, you prove your own dignity. 

Six, forgiveness does not encourage the harming of others or the wrongdoers to hurt themselves.  If it is necessary to prevent the wrongdoers harming themselves in illegal ways or harming others then justice comes in.  This means doing something that ensures they will be deterred or others will be protected.  You may forgive the burglar but still have to report him to the police to stop him hurting somebody else if you are sure he will not stop.

Forgiveness does not necessarily require you to forget about justice.  No its the complete opposite.  You can forgive a person and ask them to pay for damaging your car.  If this is about helping them this is not against forgiveness but a manifestation of mercy.  To bless them by giving them the chance to prove themselves better than the wrongdoing they did and yourself is forgiveness in action.

One, Three and Four are not forgiveness at all.  They are feelings.  If you have bad feelings towards someone, you simply can't just switch the feelings off.  Having the feelings does not mean you have failed to forgive.  You can have them while practicing Two, Five and Six.  Just see the feelings as not good or bad but as facts.  Let is just call One, Three and Four "emotional healing of past hurts".


There is a difference between 1 forgiving somebody who hurts you but who who has done kind things for you and 2 somebody who has not.

So you should forgive 1 if there is a choice between 1 and 2. In the real world, forgive 1 first and then try 2. 1 has priority.

Forgiving a person is selfish, perhaps malicious or immoral, when it ignores how it enables the person to do more harm. If forgiving is just or largely about you not wanting to feel bitter and hurt then that is definitely selfish. The bad person will see that you are giving in to them so that you can feel okay or good and are not going to check the terrible behaviour. To make it about feeling good tells the perpetrator that is all you care about so you will “forgive” again for an easy life. To feel at peace, you are not going to want to upbraid it! You will not bother. It is clear that unless the other person is clearly and sincerely remorseful and contrite, you are willing to let them be bad and use none of your power to try to talk them out of evil. You have to influence them anyway. Saying something and saying nothing still communicates a message.

Real forgiveness is not about getting rid of bad feelings but is about you changing towards the other person. It is about you becoming open to think only good of them now and give them only good for it is about now and not what happened in the past.

So the good benefits are what come after you forgive but are not what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness must not be confused with its outcomes. It’s a response to the dignity of the other person and accepts that dignity and refuses to risk defining them by the bad thing they have done.

Forgiveness is granted in spite of what the other person has done and what they truly deserve. It is not and cannot be granted because of what they have done. For that reason real forgiveness is open to and willing to tell the person to do wrong no more and will involve a refusal to tolerate it. Forgiveness can be very painful and perhaps worse than resentment but it as forgiveness has to be linked to love of the other and to justice for the other that is to be expected.

To forgive a person means to offer them good or do good for them when they did bad for you. Understood this way, forgiveness is not about getting rid of the emotional hurt. That is a separate matter. It would be selfish to be good to the other person just so that you may deal with your feeling of hate for them and feel much better. Forgiving would then be a lie. If forgiveness is a virtue then it is for the other person. It is trying to see that the other person has a wound and that was why they hurt you so compassion will be an element. You are doing it for the other person not to be the bigger person yourself.

This is about forgiving just because it is good. It is like you choose to do loving things for the bad person in spite of the pain and in spite of what they truly deserve.

What about forgiving for yourself and the other person? What is stopping you from doing it only for the other person? If you are going to do it at all then why not? This is forgiveness with a but. It is not the real deal. You are looking for a sort of friendship with the other person but that means that unless they change you will not fully or properly forgive.

What about forgiving not for you or the other but because there is already enough pain in the world? You forgive to make something generally better for the world and it's not about you or the other person as individuals.

When somebody is brutally murdered, how many people will do the Christian thing and call for forgiveness immediately?  Nobody does.  This is clear proof that most Christians are not really Christian at all for it is a core matter.  It proves that they do not love all sinners and hate their sins.  It proves that Jesus and his religion is a failure.  Going along with those failures makes things worse.

The threat by Jesus not to forgive those who do not forgive is terrible. Some argue that it only asks that you be in love with God so much that naturally you will love his creature as well which he loves and has made. So it is not intended as a threat.  But if there is no loving God then it is a threat.  Intention cannot change what it is.  It might only be true of somebody who loves God as much as a God would deserve but the love God gets amounts to a little liking not love.  Why did Jesus not explain it the way his interpreters do?  Why did he treat forgiveness as a transaction and speak of it that way?  What else are we going to think when we read, "Unless you forgive you will not be forgiven yourself"?

Religion says, "God forgives as soon as we sin but we have to respond to his mercy and forgiveness." But you don't have to respond to get the forgiveness. You just get it.  Accepting God’s forgiveness is not permitting him to forgive.  If it is then we can be self-righteous and insist that our choice has done that.  So you will get no compassion for refusing to accept God's forgiveness.  Any bad results will be seen as your own creation and your own doing.  This teaching pressures and bullies you.  It is not truly a doctrine of love and forgiveness but passive aggressive.  You should not be treated like that over a being who might not exist or who might not care what you do.

Jesus taught that faith moves mountains. Faith that God forgives and changes and brings good out of evil is a huge part of faith. Forgiveness is the main characteristic of faith. It is about faith in God who is in the situation more than faith in the other person.  You act now as if you trust that person because you hold that God is at work and there is nothing to fear.

Now somebody dangerous to you and others is forgiven by you.  There is no such thing as a person who is just a threat to you.  They will hate somebody else who is like you if that person crosses their path.  So it is not about you only. if you are doing harm by forgiving it is not just your problem.  You forgive.  What if you are Christian?  Then you do it not because the past is the past and you want rid of bad feelings but because you are tacitly saying God wants this. God is with the other person and the damage they have done and offering transformation. He is bigger than the harm and the sin and the damage. It is easily seen that this doctrine leads to doormat mercy. You become a pushover for you are assuming the danger is gone for it is all in God’s hands when in fact it is not.  You will tell yourself that if the recipient abuses the forgiveness that this has nothing to do with what they were forgiven for but them committing a new sin.  You will rationalise.

If the silent but real pressure we all experience so that we will "forgive" is mean and smug, passive-aggressive people will fake forgiveness to set a toxic example....


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