What is Forgiveness?

A friend of mine asked the other day, “What is forgiveness?”

I’m not sure I know the answer to that. The very next day, my brother asked essentially the same question.  We’ve all been told to “forgive and forget” but the truth is, forgetting is impossible. We always remember, learn, and guard ourselves against subsequent pain from that particular angle.

If forgetting is impossible, is forgiving impossible as well?

Today I have the tools with which I can be rid of a resentment. Is that the same thing as forgiving?

Is understanding the one who has hurt us the key to forgiveness? If we were to look upon that person as a very, very old parent might, would we see the one as a mere child, trying to find its way through the difficult morass of relationships? Can we forgive the indiscretions of youth–our own or others’?

Or perhaps forgiving means merely to show mercy. We’re all capable of that, even if we can’t forget. Even if we do guard ourselves against subsequent pain.

I have committed more than my share of youthful (and not so youthful) indiscretions, for which I have been shown more mercy than I deserve. Have I been forgiven?

I don’t know.

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Filed under Learning, Personalities, regrets, relationships

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