Forgiveness

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Forgiveness is a process of letting go of the anger and resentment for a perceived wrong-doing or debt. The International Forgiveness Institute distinguishes several kinds of forgiveness:

Moral

  • It is a response to an injustice (a moral wrong).
  • It is turning to the "good" in the face of this wrongdoing.

Goodwill

  • Merciful restraint from pursuing resentment or revenge. Generosity or offering good things such as: attention, time, remembrances on holidays.
  • Moral Love or contributing to the betterment of the other.

Paradoxical

  • It is the foregoing of resentment or revenge when the wrongdoer's actions deserve it and giving the gifts of mercy, generosity and love when the wrongdoer does not deserve them.
  • As we give the gift of forgiveness we ourselves are healed.

Beyond duty

  • A freely chosen gift (rather than a grim obligation).
  • The overcoming of wrongdoing with good.

They point out that forgiveness is not denial or ignoring the wrong-doing, condoning it, pretending it didn't happen or that the person wasn't really responsible. Forgiveness isn't morally superior and no compensation is required for forgiveness. It is not condemning.

Additional resources

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Author: J Kim Wright