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Author Topic: Forgiveness
Elizabeth
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OK, what is it?

Someone said that, in order to be forgiven, you have to ask for forgiveness.

True?
Untrue?
Both?

I figure, if someone wrongs me, I can forgive them. Therefore, they are forgiven.

Is it not the act of the forgiver to forgive, whether the forgiveee asks to be forgiven or not?

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Xaposert
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Untrue. I definitely have forgiven people before who never asked to be forgiven, and I'm pretty sure I've been forgiven without having asked for it.
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Irregardless
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Do you mean in the religious sense?
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mr_porteiro_head
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Forgiven by whom? Mortal or deity?
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Elizabeth
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Mortal. That is what I was asking.

I would be interested in deity as well, though.

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Tante Shvester
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I've forgiven without being asked. For instance, if someone owes me money, forgets to pay me back, I might just forgive the debt.

Same with transgressions.

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King of Men
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If that's true, it would seem to contradict a goodly bit of Christian doctrine, since to the best of my knowledge nobody ever asked Jehovah to send its only begotten son to Earth to be crucified so we could be forgiven.

Edit : On second thought, that's not true; the crucifixion makes it possible for Yahweh to grant forgiveness, but it still has to be asked for.

[ April 02, 2006, 12:43 AM: Message edited by: King of Men ]

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Elizabeth
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Isn't a bit of semantics?
I forgive.
I did it.
It is my action.
The person is therfore forgiven, no matter how he feels about it. They are the recipient of the action.
Is there maybe another word to describe forgiveness?

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Elizabeth
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Also, can someone be forgiven if they do not take responsibility for the wrong they committed?

And, what if the wrong they committed did not seem wrong to them, even though it caused hurt to the person who is forgiving the for it?

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Tatiana
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Elizabeth, it's far easier to forgive someone who is sorry, but it's much better to forgive regardless.

Forgiving is essential for *you* to heal from the wrong.

It can be really hard, depending on the situation, but when you finally accomplish it, it's quite freeing.

I guess someone who understands what they did and takes responsibility is a lot farther along than someone who doesn't even realize or can't even admit that they did wrong. They can't progress until they do, but there isn't any need to halt *your* progress waiting on them. Until you forgive, their wrong action has the power to darken your heart, and spoil your happiness. Forgiveness releases you from that bondage, and frees you to be someone who is more, whose selfness has nothing whatsoever to do with them.

Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. Nobody said it was easy, though. The first step is to want to want to forgive, even if you can't. The next step (for me) is to pray to want to forgive. Gradually, those prayers bear fruit, and I find that I do want to forgive, even if I still can't. [Smile] So then I begin praying to forgive. It's a process that takes time, depending on the seriousness of the offense. But wow it's so very worthwhile! Talk about dropping a horrible burden!

What you don't have to do and need to not do is to give the forgiven one more opportunities to harm you in the future. You can come up with a strategy for this based on the situation, whether it means no contact at all, which is good for extreme cases, or minimal contact while always maintaining an escape route, or simply the willingness to remove yourself from the situation each time it begins to happens again. It might be as easy as vowing not to discuss certain topics with a given person ever again.

That's all I can say in general terms. Realize that the wronged is in a much better situation than the one doing wrong, *especially* if the latter takes no responsibility for their mistakes. From this perspective you can see clearly what is going on, and understand right from wrong, while they can't. Learn from that what lessons you can learn, and let go of the hurt, or bitterness, or injury, or slight, or violation of your selfness that took place. Release it and be free.

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password
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I think, like the discussion on "faith", there are a couple of sets of concepts covered by one word.

Perhaps I could state my feelings best that there is no passive component to being forgiven in the moral or theological sense.

I see two separate processes here. The offended party can "let go" of the transgression and receive closure and the offending party can recognize their transgression and receive closure. Forgiveness can be granted in absentia, but it must also be received to complete the process of reconciliation-- which, BTW, I find a more useful word in many circumstances.

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Elizabeth
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Tatiana, thanks.
I am a forgiver by nature. This discussion came up because someone stated that a person cannot be forgiven fully (by a person) unless they accept responsibility for their transgression. I disagree with that. They can still be forgiven by me if I choose to forgive them.

I like what you say about the harmed person taking responsibility for not being harmed again. I think that is very important.

password, I like "reconcilitation." I can forgive someone and not necessarily reconcile with them(or want to) unless they make some move to acknowledge the hurt they caused.

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oolung
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maybe this quote is all about the wrongdoer and their sense of guilt, not about a 'general' situation. The person they hurt may forgive them, but they may not 'really' feel it until they themselves ask for forgiveness, thus admitting they realise they did something wrong and they repent it.

Or maybe the quote is out of context, and it's the answer to a question (like: what should I do to be forgiven? Asking for forgiveness would be a good start then) [Smile]

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password
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I think part of the issue is that "forgiveness" can be expected and even demanded in a sort of passive-aggressive (for lack of better words) attack. I have seen more than one person castigated for not being forgiving by someone who showed no sign of remorse, only the expectation of being let off the hook because they were "family."

It's easy to ignore the ludicrous demand of someone who wishes to be forgiven when they will not acknowledge that they have done anything wrong.

But others, especially those without knowledge of the situation, will then sometimes come in with blythe assessments that "you [ought/need] to forgive [x]" (by which they mean what I called "reconciling"). In extreme situations I've actually seen people condemn others (as in "you're going to hell if you don't...") for refusing to reconcile with an unrepentant 3rd party. In these situations, of course, the correct response is "that's not for you to say" but in the desire to justify the actions of myself and others, I have sometimes said "even God cannot forgive [again, meaning "be reconciled to"] someone who will not admit they have done wrong."

So it depends, I think, on your position. If I am the one to do the forgiving, I can lay down my burden of anger and hatred without any need for another's repentance (or action of any kind). If I need forgiveness, I must be willing to admit my error to receive it.

I would suggest that reconciling with someone who does not acknowldege their wrong is not "forgiveness" but merely "enabling."

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Kristen
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Just because you logically forgive someone doesn't mean that the hurt/anger immediately disappears. The acknowledgement of the act of forgiving is but the beginning in many cases.

I think that sort of forgiveness can happen independent of the wronger asking for it.

However, I think if the wronger apologizes and asks for forgiveness, and is sincere, the healing process expediates.

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maui babe
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It's also possible to completely forgive someone and yet not continue to trust them, or even to continue in a relationship with them. Forgiveness of others helps you, the forgiver. It has no effect on the "forgivee".
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Chungwa
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Unless I'm misunderstanding you, I disagree.

Sometimes I think forgiveness also can help the "forgivee."

I know I've messed up before with people and when I am forgiven, it certainly helps me out as well as the forgiver.

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maui babe
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You probably are misunderstanding me. Forgiveness has nothing to do with "giving someone another chance", although that certainly can come from forgiveness. Forgiveness means letting go of the anger and hurt and desires for vengence etc. Then you will be in a better position to decide what to do next, which may include trust or another chance. Or it may include moving on without that person in your life, or in a different place in your life, which is more about trust than about forgiveness.
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Tatiana
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I agree. Forgiveness doesn't mean giving an unrepentant person another shot at you. [Smile]
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Tstorm
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Where would you guys place active measures to prevent that person from getting another shot at you?
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mr_porteiro_head
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Between me and the person shooting?

Seriously -- I don't understand your question.

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Tstorm
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Hmmm...I wasn't thinking clearly. I was trying to build on Tatiana's last statement.

At any rate, I've given it some more thought, and now I don't even understand why I asked the question. It's one of those "duh!" moments. [Smile]

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