Do we need to forgive?

What does forgiveness mean? I’d be interested to have your comments and start a dialogue on this one, because I realise that the more I think about it, the more I don’t understand the concept at all.

This audio poses a series of questions on the subject, based on concepts from other Survivors, what I read and my own experience.  Some of the questions I pose about forgiveness are:

  1. Does it involve a debt—a way of saying “You’ve hurt me, therefore you owe me? And until you pay I won’t forgive?”
  2. Does someone have to deserve our forgiveness. And if so, how do we really know they’ve met the standard?
  3. If we don’t forgive, are we condemning people for an eternity?
  4. Is all bad behaviour simply on a continuum?
  5. Does it mean “If I don’t forgive I have power?”  Is it a zero sum game?
  6. Do you have to let go of rage, of anger and resentment in order to forgive?
3 reasons to forgive might be …
  1. The perpetrator was abused themselves
  2. It might free us and help us to move forwards
  3. It’s an Act of Faith


3 reasons not to forgive might be …
  1. If  it’s some sort of moral duty
  2. If we forget—never forget. If my abuse makes any sense at all, then I need to remind Society of its damage
  3. If I’m seeking remorse and conditions—I somehow don’t feel I will ever really know someone’s intentions.


My alternatives to forgiveness are empathy and compassion. My abuser was just another human being who has made bad choices.