Pressing matters of the day and of all time, debated among thoughtful participants of all faiths

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:29 am
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Is it wrong to forgive?

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Often when people do very bad things, someone forgives them and not always the victim. A father in Northern Ireland famously forgave the man who murdered his daughter. We can see the goodness in a victim forgiving an attacker but surely it is wrong for others, not involved in the attack, to forgive.

Is it wrong to forgive when one is not the sufferer?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:54 am
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Re: Is it wrong to forgive?

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[Replying to post 1 by marco]

I think, in a connected society, we all suffer a little when someone commits a serious crime. It makes all of us feel a little less safe, a little more fearful, somewhat more suspicious. Crime corrodes the social relations in a society. So, while those directly suffering from the consequences of an evil act clearly have the most to forgive, and the most 'right' to forgive, that does not compromise the same 'right' for the rest of us.

But forgiveness is difficult. It takes practice. I can offer two proverbs:
Quote:
To err is human; to forgive, divine.

and
Quote:
To understand all is to forgive all.

These both seem to me to be helpful; they describe the forgiving nature of the loving God, who forgives us totally because He understands us totally, and suggest that if we are to seek to emulate Him, then we should seek an understanding of the evil-doer first. And in this way, we have a strategy to accomplish that line in the Lord's prayer:
Quote:
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.


None of the above denies the necessity for the perpetrator to repent and atone, but that is not something the victims have any control over.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:38 am
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Re: Is it wrong to forgive?

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[Replying to post 2 by 2ndRateMind]

And warm greeting to you and thanks for your thoughtful reply, 2RM. Your quote, tout comprendre, c'est tout pardoner - brought me back, in a Proustian manner, to a first year university French essay. I've forgotten now how I replied.


I was thinking that when people forgive they are forgiving the wrong done, not the spill-out of hurt to themselves. Would it be right for a judge to say: "You acted viciously - but I forgive you."


The ramification is that we expect God to forgive us our trespasses, when the deed was done to some poor victim. The expectation is that the victim, not even the Almighty, is the one who should forgive.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:57 am
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Yes, nice to talk again, Marco.

I think the judge, in his personal capacity, may decide to forgive. But in his or her official capacity, as an agent of the state, the job is to preside over a fair trial, direct the jury and counsel on points of law, and decide an appropriate sentence for the crime should the jury return a guilty verdict. Forgiveness is not part of the role.

As for God, well, 'tis my belief that He is present in all of us, rejoicing in our joys and suffering with us in our hurts. Thus, I do not think you can divide the damage to a victim from the damage done to God. But yes, it would be crass and wrong for me to 'forgive' the damage done to the grieving family of a murder victim. That is their prerogative. The most I should do is to forgive damage done to myself.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:10 pm
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2ndRateMind wrote:


I think the judge, in his personal capacity, may decide to forgive.



I was using the judge as a lead-up to God. I know forgiveness isn't part of the judicial role.

2ndRateMind wrote:




As for God, well, 'tis my belief that He is present in all of us, rejoicing in our joys and suffering with us in our hurts.



It is interesting to discover the private pictures and explanations people have of the actions of the deity. I have to say that the God of the OT doesn't seem to fall in line with your portraiture: instead of waving a wrathful finger at the people of Sodom and Gomorrah he wiped them out, unforgivingly. Yes, I know it was their own fault. Cherchez la faute is the methodology. Go well.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:14 pm
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[Replying to post 5 by marco]

Just to say that religion, like theology and philosophy, is a developing field. Part of the reason why Jesus had to be sent to us is that the OT does not provide a particularly reliable picture of God.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:23 pm
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2ndRateMind wrote:

[Replying to post 5 by marco]

Just to say that religion, like theology and philosophy, is a developing field. Part of the reason why Jesus had to be sent to us is that the OT does not provide a particularly reliable picture of God.

Best wishes, 2RM.


Well that's a refreshingly new point of view - Jesus as a Public Relations man for God. I agree his father suffers from atrocious publicity and perhaps we have to blame the inspiring Holy Spirit for failing to edit the text properly. I agree that with the appearance of Jesus there were no mass destructions, floods or threatening appearances. And the constant use of Father does do something, but there are nasty areas still that suggest God's transformation is only temporary and if we are to go by Revelation, he's liable to break into anger again.

And to bring us back to the OP - he might not be as forgiving as his son suggests.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:29 pm
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[Replying to post 7 by marco]

Smile

I have never met anyone yet who actually understands the Book of Revelation, and those that claim to tend to be - how to put it kindly? - a little unbalanced in their religious views.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:33 am
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Re: Is it wrong to forgive?

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I'll pose a hypothetical. A man steals a woman's purse. He later becomes very sorry he did and gives it back to her, apologizes greatly, and asks for forgiveness. For whatever reason she does not forgive him and still views him with hostility for what he did.

If for whatever reason I am moved by his repentant nature and forgive him, am I wrong for doing so since I was not the sufferer?

I don't necessarily see how being the sufferer or not has weight on whether it's right or wrong to forgive.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:40 am
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Re: Is it wrong to forgive?

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jgh7 wrote:

I'll pose a hypothetical. A man steals a woman's purse. He later becomes very sorry he did and gives it back to her, apologizes greatly, and asks for forgiveness. For whatever reason she does not forgive him and still views him with hostility for what he did.

If for whatever reason I am moved by his repentant nature and forgive him, am I wrong for doing so since I was not the sufferer?

I don't necessarily see how being the sufferer or not has weight on whether it's right or wrong to forgive.



Given that you aren't the sufferer, what is it that you are forgiving the man for? Stealing someone else's purse which doesn't cause you any trouble whatsoever?

It's not wrong, it is quite simply meaningless. He owes you no apology and you have nothing to forgive.

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