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At what price forgiveness?

 
 
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2012 08:59 pm
I remember reading a quote, attributed to Carrie Fisher, that said "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die".

While I believe there is a lot of truth in that statement I have some problems with it too. I think forgiveness can come with a cost, and that the cost can be high.

Is forgiveness ever a bad thing?

Like, when one spouse abuses the other and the abused one forgives and stays. Is that a bad form of forgiveness?

What do you think? What is the nature of forgiveness? Is it always worth the price on pays?

Please note: I welcome religious views on this and while I hope everyone will be respectful of such views but I can't guarantee it. That's what the ignore button is for.
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Type: Question • Score: 11 • Views: 1,763 • Replies: 18
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dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2012 09:06 pm
@boomerang,
Hmmmm....I actually agree with Carrie, for reasons that I do not fully understand, in truth....except I do feel that harbouring anger and resentment DO poison one, and I have a sort of fluffy feeling that they pollute the general human atmosphere, too.

That being said, I am not very good at forgiving utterly. I am also very opposed to the kind of therapy that holds that forgiving an abuser is the ultimate sign of healing and pushes people to forgive.

I don't think forgiving necessarily entails accepting further abuse, by the way....you can forgive without allowing someone back into your life.

PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2012 09:52 pm
I think forgiveness can be very freeing for the person hurt. It takes so much energy to feel resentment and anger that just giving it all up can release you from all that work.

I had so much resentment for someone who hurt me this last spring. Then I realized that he was just acting how he was - he really didn't know how to act any way else.

James Hillman wrote an interesting article on betrayal and what it does to the person betrayed. Google and read.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2012 11:05 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
FORGIVE

transitive verb
1
a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult>
b : to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>
2
: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon <forgive one's enemies>

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgive

A lot of people think to forgive means to say that what happened was OK, or that they no longer care about what happened. No, it means to let the emotional hurt go. Forgiveness is not a bad thing. In the survivor community I get a lot a flack for saying that a person is not healed from the trauma till they have forgiven their abuser. Most so called survivors demand that being healed means that they are functional, that forgiveness is not part of healing which some might want to do for some unknown reason. I say no, these folks have confused being able to function with no longer being tied to the abuse, they are no where near being the same thing. To be healed is to no longer be held back by the abuse, to no longer be leashed to it. Forgiveness is a required step.

A price for forgiveness? Pardon me but where is the cost? It is all benefit.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 02:32 am
@dlowan,
I don't think that there is necessarily any benefit in forgiving those who harm us--necessarily, each situation must be judged on its own merits. If one does decide to forgive, for whatever reasons one thinks best . . .

Miss Wabbit wrote:
I don't think forgiving necessarily entails accepting further abuse, by the way....you can forgive without allowing someone back into your life.


. . . this is wisdeom on the issure of forgiveness.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 08:29 am
I remember reading, years ago (so the details are sketchy) about a woman who had forgiven her son's killer and visited him in prison on a regular basis. The prisoner spoke about how this forgiveness had changed him in a very fundamental way. And so did the woman.

I don't think I'd have it in me to show that kind of forgiveness.

You know how when someone says "I'm sorry" and we say "That's okay..."? Is that the same as saying "I forgive you"? I don't think so.

"That's okay" usually comes with a list of conditions while I'm not sure forgiveness can be so conditional.

I think it can be freeing for the hurt person too, Punky, because it gives one permission to not expend any more energy on the person at all, not even the energy it takes to resent them.

So I guess I kind of get what hawkeye is saying -- walking around with anger or resentment does tie you to your abuser. It still gives the abuser some control over you.

I agree with dlowan. Cutting people out of your life is often the exactly right thing to do, it's an act of self preservation, but I'm not sure that it's forgiveness.

And that's where I get stuck wondering if forgiveness is always worth the price.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 08:41 am
@boomerang,
I think there's a middle ground -- where you don't forgive, but you don't resent.

I am generally pretty forgiving, but I have limits. When pushed beyond those limits, I'm just plain done. In some situations some resentment lingers, but usually I just sort of wipe my hands of the whole thing and move on.

I do think that one can be too forgiving. I was worried about sozlet in that regard for a while -- I don't want her to be anyone's doormat. In third grade especially, she was putting up with a lot, and going back for more. As part of that ordeal she became more willing to say "that ain't cool" and walk away, and that seems to be serving her pretty well since.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:02 am
@boomerang,
I think forgiveness is never a bad thing, since, as that quote says, holding a grudge only harms you. So we should always forgive. But we should not always forget...
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:05 am
Forgiveness for what??? Sometimes one feels abused, in that their supposed "honor" was abused. Well, I do not subscribe to honor. We are born without honor, in my opinion, and only claim it based on it being a social construct in some societies. So, I believe, feeling one's honor has been abused (not one's physical safety), is just so much ego getting in the way of a humble existence. Anyway, this is just my opinion. If one wants to subscribe to honor, one will feel that honor is a component of one's existence. However, I believe, much misery has been produced in the world to regain one's honor, from some believed humiliation.

Anyway, forgiveness can just be looking at "closure" or "acceptance" from a different angle. I really do not understand what "forgiveness" is supposed to connote? Is that not just accepting another's possible less than preferred behavior? Or, is that not just having closure on another's possible less than preferred behavior? Forgiveness implies that one will not hold back some reward. So, if one is religious, and has sinned, then forgiveness can mean that one will achieve Salvation, based on Divine forgiveness. Should mortal man really assign to themselves an ability (to forgive) that is done by ones' God? Is that not a little presumptuous of man?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:30 am
@Foofie,
My accepting of forgiveness derives from my acceptance on how circumstantial I am...if I has born with the genetic code of a sociopath in the wrong environment I would be doing what sociopaths do...naturally forgiving doesn't imply absence of correction (not punishment)...
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:38 am
Ms Fisher was quoting Malachy McCourt. Malachy is the brother of Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes. Malachy and Frank took different paths in life as they struggled to deal with the reality of their upbringing.

Regardless of the origins of the quote, I agree with its premise. The bitterness of resentment has a much greater impact on the one who is resentful than on the source of the misdeed. I dealt with a similar feeling regarding my own father and our upbringing. It took me years to accept that my resentment wasn't hurting him in the least but was making my own life miserable. I let go of the hatred that I carried and was a much healthier person for it.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:43 am
@boomerang,
I don't know that not carrying resentment is always synonymous with forgiveness. One can decide not to forgive an act without carrying resentment toward the individual who committed it.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:56 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I agree with dlowan. Cutting people out of your life is often the exactly right thing to do, it's an act of self preservation, but I'm not sure that it's forgiveness.


I think you can forgive AND cut people out. I don't think they're the same.

I'm mostly in agreement with what hawkeye posted about this. Forgive, and then move on.

My forgiving someone doesn't mean I don't think they're capable of the same idiocies in the future. It just means I've dealt with my piece of it.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 09:57 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

A price for forgiveness? Pardon me but where is the cost? It is all benefit.


yup
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 10:00 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Like, when one spouse abuses the other and the abused one forgives and stays. Is that a bad form of forgiveness?


The staying is just stupidity IMNSHO, nothing to do with forgiveness.

I think part of forgiveness has to do with recognizing what it is about the other person that caused them to do you wrong - could be laziness, meanness, self-involvement ...
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 10:09 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
forgives and stays.


The difference being is you can forgive the person the act, but not stay. It is only bad if you stay. Forgiving doesn't mean you are a doormat - it means you let it go.

I think that is what Carrie was referring to as a poison - if you do not forgive, it can fester in you. If you let it go and forgive - you go on. Doesn't mean you even need a relationship with a person that you forgive. You just let it go.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 10:13 am
@ehBeth,
...even "meanness" is just a form of irrational conflict with the world, a non acceptance of its rules...I tend to see the willingness to be "mean" as a reaction coming from lack of understanding, from a position of ignorance...the kind of simple reasoning that gives fuel to being malevolous is exactly the idea that the world is being "bad" to you so that there is no point in being good to others...
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 10:56 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I think there's a middle ground -- where you don't forgive, but you don't resent.

I am generally pretty forgiving, but I have limits. When pushed beyond those limits, I'm just plain done. In some situations some resentment lingers, but usually I just sort of wipe my hands of the whole thing and move on.

I do think that one can be too forgiving. I was worried about sozlet in that regard for a while -- I don't want her to be anyone's doormat. In third grade especially, she was putting up with a lot, and going back for more. As part of that ordeal she became more willing to say "that ain't cool" and walk away, and that seems to be serving her pretty well since.



I agree completely with what you wrote. I also think it depends on who hurt you, what they did, and how well you regard them. I forgive a lot, but never forget and open myself up to that again. When I don't forgive, I never forgive, but don't hang onto the feelings. I just don't like them anymore and that's that.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2012 11:13 am
Thanks all for the interesting responses.

It all makes me think of my mother in law, who I love and admire.

Mr. B's dad was kind of a jerk and after they divorced he tried to make her life miserable, despite the fact that he was the one who caused the divorce and asked for the divorce. Her ability to forgive and move on always amazed me. She never cut him out of her life either, which would have been impossible since he was the father of her children.

"Grace", I guess, is the word that would best describe her behavior.

How does grace figure in with forgiveness? Is one a component of the other or are the independent of each other?
0 Replies
 
 

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