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:
- 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?”
- Does someone have to deserve our forgiveness. And if so, how do we really know they’ve met the standard?
- If we don’t forgive, are we condemning people for an eternity?
- Is all bad behaviour simply on a continuum?
- Does it mean “If I don’t forgive I have power?” Is it a zero sum game?
- Do you have to let go of rage, of anger and resentment in order to forgive?
3 reasons to forgive might be …
- The perpetrator was abused themselves
- It might free us and help us to move forwards
- It’s an Act of Faith
3 reasons not to forgive might be …
- If it’s some sort of moral duty
- If we forget—never forget. If my abuse makes any sense at all, then I need to remind Society of its damage
- 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.