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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Nature of Forgiveness

A good amount is said about forgiveness in this world, and I’m one of those folks who needs to have an idea of when it’s time. This is what I think, and you can tell me if I’m right.

17th November 2011
Dear Cassi,
Something happened at work on my second day that struck a note with me. I was manning the front desk alone, and I had no business doing so as I was still training, when one of the managers came out training another new employee.
A conversation was had of which I can give little detail, but the subject of forgiveness came up. My take on is that you should only forgive those who admit that they were wrong and pledge to right things.
If a person stole and would not return their plunder with interest, then you cannot forgive them. In this regard we must understand first that everyone makes mistakes, and second that it is so much easier to harm than to heal. Those who freely admit that they were wrong, are sorry, and will work to make it up to us are worthy of forgiveness.
The interesting thing about my argument was that it brought a tear to the manager’s eye. I found it strange that a man who had worked around so much suffering could be so easily moved. My words were not profound or eloquent. I would even call them rushed and incomplete, but I think my point was made.
I’ve been told that you should forgive four your own sake. That bad idea was hatched from those who are consumed by their anger. We forgive the dead because they have no more option of redemption. For those of us still living we should place in the nature of our resolve the understanding that forgiveness comes at the price of honesty and hard work. It is as much a crime to forgive the unworthy as it is for them to transgress. All forgiving the unworthy will do is give them leave to be bad people once again.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal