What is forgiveness?  Is it letting go of anger against a person?  Is it freeing a person from the consequences of his or her actions—-the person does not have to pay you back, or you won’t press charges if the person hurt you in a criminal manner?  Is it pretending as if the offense never took place?

I am the sort of person who would like the therapeutic effects of forgiveness, without having to be in a relationship with those who wronged me.  I want inner peace, but not the responsibility to pursue reconciliation.  Or let me say this: if I believe that the relationship is worthwhile to me—-if I value it—-then I will try to safeguard it.  That is only true of a small number of relationships in my life, though.  In my opinion, it is not mentally healthy for me to beat myself up over not being friends with everyone on the planet.  At the same time, I realize that how I do things right now—-or drawing the moral lines around where I am right now—-does not exactly bear fruit.  Just take a look at my record of broken friendships!

Anyway, what I try to do is to recognize everyone’s value as a human being, whether that person wronged me or not.  “But that is not reaching out to people and concretely showing them love,” one might say.  “You’re taking the easier path, the path that makes you feel better.”  Oh well.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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1 Response to Forgiveness

  1. I think that forgiveness does so much for oneself because it doesn’t necessarily mean that the act or the person that is being forgiven is getting off easily; to me it means that you are releasing whatever hold that person or act had on you and you are letting it go to free yourself. Holding onto anger, hurt or hate is much too exhausting or painful; we have a finite time, we must use it wisely. I do try to do that, it does work for the most part. 🙂


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