* * * * * A DEFINITION OF FORGIVENESS * * * * *
Based on Philosophical, Traditional (Hebrew, Christian, Islamic, Confucian, and Buddhist traditions, among others), Psychological and Developmental principles. Gleaned from a large survey of readings, professional dialogue, and stories of forgiveness written by volunteers.
1. What it is:
a.. Moral - It is a response to an injustice (a moral wrong). It is a turning to the "good" in the face of this wrongdoing.
b.. Goodwill - Merciful restraint from pursuing resentment or revenge. Generosity or offering good things such as: attention, time, remembrances on holidays. Moral Love or contributing to the betterment of the other.
c.. Paradoxical - It is the foregoing of resentment or revenge when the wrongdoer's actions deserve it and giving the gifts of mercy, generosity and love when the wrongdoer does not deserve them. As we give the gift of forgiveness we ourselves are healed.
d.. Beyond duty - A freely chosen gift (rather than a grim obligation). The overcoming of wrongdoing with good.
2. What it is not:
a.. Forgetting/Denial - Time passing/ignoring the effects of the wrongdoing.
b.. Condoning - Nothing that bad happened. It was only this one time. It won't happen again.
c.. Excusing - The person did this because.....it wasn't really their responsibility.
d.. Condemning - She/he deserves to know they have wronged me. "Forgiving" with a sense of moral superiority.
e.. Seeking Justice or Compensation - Forgiveness is not a quid pro quo deal--it doesn't demand compensation first.
3. Important Distinction:
a.. Forgiveness: One person's moral response to another's injustice
b.. Reconciliation: Two parties coming together in mutual respect