I think this subject deserves so much more attention though I have personally found it difficult to find reliable information on forgiveness. Of course I can find plenty of information but how do I realistically apply this in my own life and relationships? This is a first stab on how; this is a skeleton but I plan to expand and elaborate later:
3 Forms of Forgiveness (a psychological model)
Highest form of forgiveness. This requires repentance from the offender. The act of officially absolving someone from blame, sincerely acting like the incident never happened, forgetting the incident entirely.
2. Forgive but not forget
Second-best form of forgiveness. Being cautious
3. Not exoneration, not forgetting
Lowest kind of forgiveness though this might be the only available option if culprit does not acknowledge nor repent of the wrong-doing. Just getting out of the danger; nothing done for the other person, only for the offended; I don’t forgive you, but I release myself
How the culprit and victim can help each other
- repentance from the culprit, exoneration/ask for acknowledgement (understand their need to be released)
- the victim can reach out to the culprit e.g. “let me know what causes you anger and sorrow.. I am sorry for (listen to each of the points); please forgive me”
- someone who is injured needs some time to feel sore
- counterfeit: “if I hurt you in any way, I am sorry” (they are not acknowledging the crime)
- for happiness sake, at least release (3rd form of forgiveness)
- if the offender does not acknowledge/repent, it causes pain for both parties
The spiritual dimension of Forgiveness and Mercy
So far I’ve mentioned a simple model of forgiveness [seemingly model that can be derived by natural means] though it seems many apparently simple things have a deeper, supernatural depth. In my last revision I had linked to an article that no longer exists (this is partly the reason why I often make copies of an article [with due attribution] on my site). I perceive this as a sign from God that I need to elaborate more on forgiveness, dive deeper, and actually try to practice it in my life.
The forth dimension of Forgiveness (assuming we follow a model of 3 natural kinds of forgiveness) is the kind of forgiveness Jesus teaches us. e.g.:
- “God forgive them for they know not what they do”
- To me it seems it can be the kind of love that loves while suffering
- If we make good confessions often, and are given so much undeserved love and mercy, are we not compelled to have mercy on others?
- I think it is good to reflect on Mother Teresa’s “do it anyway”:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
- Now what are we going to do with what we know?
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