What is Forgiveness?

I find myself terribly stuck for the past few days. I have a paper due on Tuesday and yet I find it hard to just sit down and write about it. Instead, all my energies seem to have diverted itself to this blog. I have never been inspired to write in this blog ever since I have decided to start writing my paper. I wonder, what force is at work here? In an attempt to remove the block, I have decided, why not write here what my paper is about? This brings me back to the title of this post: What is Forgiveness?

What is forgiveness essentially? Is it something necessary? Is it important? What does it mean to forgive and what does it mean when we ask for forgiveness? Those are the questions that boggles my mind right now. 

Taken from one of my classes, forgiveness is said to be a gift. It is something that is given, it is something that is not asked for but simply granted. What makes forgiveness forgiveness is precisely in those moments when it seems impossible to grant that forgiveness. 

But then again, is it important to forgive in the first place? Is it something that is essential to grant? What about in cases where you forgive someone but then that person disappoints you again and again? Do you then withhold your forgiveness until that person change? Making your forgiveness conditional? But doesn’t the conditional forgiveness defeat its essence of being a gift? I think I’m circling round and round here already. 

Following that thought even further, if conditions are an integral character of forgiveness, is there an underlying logic when we forgive someone? Then does this mean that forgiveness should be ruled by reason?  But there is also a danger to that, because if forgiveness is ruled by reason alone, then forgiveness will be reduced simply to an economics of exchange (as mentioned by my philosophy teacher). Do we forgive just merely for the sake of forgiving and that we shouldn’t try to understand why? 

What are the occasions which demands forgiveness? (or is demand even the right word for it?) In all the cases I can think of as of the moment, it is those moments when one person has wronged another person. There is a breach that occurs and perhaps the relationship between the two was also affected and that it will never be the same ever again. 

Does the person who cause the breach have the right to demand forgiveness from the injured party when that person has shown any form of remorse? Or is it as Ricoeur said, something to be begged from the victim? What if the victim refuses to grant it? Does refusing to grant forgiveness make the victim a bad person? 

All these questions keep popping in my mind. The answers are probably staring at me already and yet I seem to be missing it. 




One thought on “What is Forgiveness?

  1. Pingback: The Next Lesson « InfinitelyShanika

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