What forgiveness isn’t

Today is Forgiveness Day in the world, not to be confused with International Forgiveness Day and/or Global Forgiveness Day. It’s easy to tout around forgiveness like it’s the end-all to anything that happened—to forget what forgiveness actually is. So here is some of what it isn’t, many of the things in the list below having been used against me during such cries for forgiveness—with family, acquaintances, strangers.

Forgiveness isn’t…

  • condoning or excusing.
  • reconciliation.
  • a decision; forgiveness is a process, and processes take time.
  • agreement; again, forgiveness is a process, and such cannot be mutually decided between parties involved.
  • having the satisfaction of not letting a person get to you.
  • because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace—because of this, forgiveness does not have to be directly given; it can be something you hold back from them. It’s not for them, it’s for you.
  • something that needs to be proven.
  • forgetting; doing so leaves you vulnerable to the offense again. You can forgive, but doing so doesn’t mean “things go back” to how they were before, so as to allow the offense to happen again.
  • pardon, legal mercy or leniency.
  • revenge/vengeance.
  • justification; forgiving does not mean you have to believe the action was fair.
  • a platitude, or something surrounded by platitudes.
  • omitting pain.
  • trust.
  • unconditional.

I understand many of these may be debatable—I know a lot of people who believe it’s a choice/decision/agreement—but this is what forgiveness isn’t from my perspective. The mind is a complicated thing, as I have learned from PTSD. Dwelling on something and forgiveness are two totally different things—no matter how hard we try, we cannot completely control our minds. I do believe forgiveness has to be a feeling in order for it to happen—and it cannot be lusted for, or required—to be genuine.

It’s a little selfish—forgiveness—in that we forgive for ourselves and not the other person, because no one is entitled to forgiveness. It’s not something we deserve just because we want whatever it is we want, therefore forgiveness is not something we have to acknowledge to the person begging for it—because when they beg for it, they’re looking for the satisfaction of it, rather than to atone for their wrongdoings.

To the people who beg for forgiveness, they see it as a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card—an action pardoning them from anything and everything they’ve done—and that is when it is more selfish, containing ingenuity and lacking humility. It becomes as much of a platitude as “sorry”.

I can forgive, and when I do, it does not carry with it anything mentioned above, nor is it with outer prompting. ❤️

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Comments on this post

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I think it can be a very personal thing and probably different for a lot of people. It would also depend on the things we have been through and how much we have been hurt. I think it’s bad when you see people that are begging for forgiveness or expecting this from other people. Like you said, it’s something that takes time and can’t be bartered for.