Tag Archives: forgiveness

Forgiving vs. Forgetting

Do you forgive but never forget, or forget but never forgive?  Remember that question from silly surveys we’d fill out in junior high when we didn’t feel like doing our homework?  Well, this question just came up in an email exchange with a friend of mine, and it actually holds much relevance to an important ethical issue i’ve been grappling with.

But before i get to my personal story, let’s look at what Charles L. Griswold, author of Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration and recent contributor to The Stone, had to say about forgiveness.

First of all, Griswold introduces the idea of forgiveness as something that stems from religion, and coming from a non-religious background, i have difficulty understanding that perspective.  For instance, what does forgiveness have to do with revenge?  I was quite surprised to see revenge and vengeance included in the discussion, because those are completely separate issues for me when it comes to forgiveness.  Maybe it’s just because i’m not a vengeful person (i honestly can’t think of a single instance when i got revenge on anyone), but when i think about forgiveness, i think only about what you might think about what someone did to you, not what you might do afterwards.

However, if giving up revenge and resentment were sufficient to yield forgiveness, then one could forgive simply by forgetting, or through counseling, or by taking the latest version of the nepenthe pill.  But none of those really seems to qualify as forgiveness properly speaking, however valuable they may be in their own right as a means of getting over anger.  The reason is that forgiveness is neither just a therapeutic technique nor simply self-regarding in its motivation; it is fundamentally a moral relation between self and other.

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Filed under ethics, philosophy, the body

Closure

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Today, i got the closure i needed.  I was hurt a year and half ago and brutally reminded of that hurt two weeks ago, which made forgiving very difficult.  But i’ve come to realize that it’s not forgiveness that matters—it’s the memories.  Sure, he’s made mistakes, but somehow, my memories of what he and i shared remain untainted.  I recognize the good in him, and i remember the love we shared, and that’s all i need.  It’s unfortunate that it had to end this way, but that doesn’t diminish the power of what we had, and it doesn’t weaken the love we still have for each other, and forever will.

Today, we vowed to never forget each other.  And that’s enough.

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Filed under college, love, personal

Forgiveness

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What do you do when he who has hurt you irreparably wants to get back in touch?  

What do you do when you can’t forgive him but don’t want to hurt him either?  

What do you do when you know that forgiving him would mean hurting your loved ones?  

 

artist credit: Kevin Townsend

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Filed under depression, love, personal, sketches