Forgiveness (in Debates)


AdminNightStrike April 1 2010 12:28 AM EDT

"Forgiveness" is for you, not them.

That is the given statement for this. (For reference, see that movie about Tyler Perry playing Madea and going to jail). It basically means that you forgive someone so that they no longer have control over you with their wrong doings.

For those that don't understand debates, that is the "given" for this exercise, so your responses should not argue that point. If you disagree with it, you have to change your mindset for purposes of this.

The question is thus:

If forgiveness is for you, how do you forgive someone's transgressions when they see no wrongdoing on their part, and they have no desire for your forgiveness?

Come up with a way to achieve that within the constraints of the initial given, and defend your stance accordingly.





..And please do so quickly, before I'm back to far too many sleepless nights spent alone on CB :(

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] April 1 2010 1:32 AM EDT

Firstly I refuse to see any movie with the phrase "goes to jail" in the title that doesn't involve "bad girls".

Secondarily I believe that because forgiveness really is a personal freedom issue. The entrapment of bitterness and grudge holding is as good a hobbler as the classic ball and chain. Forgiving an unrepentant loved one is as simple as selfishly deciding that you prefer peace over turmoil. Acknowledgment of your pain isn't as important as stopping further pain from separation.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] April 1 2010 3:22 AM EDT

Probably the first step is to empathise.

See the situation from the other parties view, to try to understand why they see no wrongdoing in thier action/s. Maybe your personal veiwpoint is at odds with theirs, and a reconciliation can be made becuase of it.

Next is to try to understand why you feel so wronged by what happpened. Why does it effect you so much. Are you potentially blowing the incident out of proportion becuase of other, maybe historical events?

Forgiveness *is* for you. It matters little if the other party wants your forgiveness (it's usually to deal with any guilt they feel), and they have no hold over whether you give your forgiveness or not. Asking for it, and desiring it, might make it easier to give. But not wanting it should stop it.

What matters is that *you* can deal with the incident so that it no longer effects your relationship with that person. That's forgiveness.

I hope this helps!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] April 1 2010 3:47 AM EDT

But not wanting it should stop it.


That should be *shouldn't*. ;)

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] April 1 2010 9:00 AM EDT

Didn't I say it's not polite to fight more than one battle at a time? You'll have to wait about 10 minutes now for fight to be reenabled.

I forgive you, NS. (A more meaningful post coming asap!)

Cube April 1 2010 9:43 AM EDT

Sometimes it's easier to live when you're willing to forgive people. The relationship with someone is more valuable than being right. Some stuff is not worth fighting over. Obviously, the big things can be a problem and may ruin a relationship to the point that it's not worth keeping, but if it's something you can live with, forgiveness is usually the better option.

Kind of a strange example, but after World War II, we pardoned many of the Nazi's, not because they were innocent, but because it was the easiest way to put the country back together.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] April 1 2010 3:58 PM EDT

gl pre-empted me once again! forgiveness is about you, not them.

understanding that one cannot control or dictate others behaviors or thoughts, which seems so obvious but many cannot grasp the concept, is the main sign of maturity in my opinion.

once you accept that understanding, then forgiveness can only be about the forgiver, regardless of the forgivens state.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] April 1 2010 10:21 PM EDT

Easy to control people. Not with forgiveness unacquainted with empowerment or God mind you.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] April 1 2010 10:49 PM EDT

i meant simply that person a has the capacity to forgive person b but lacks to the ability to force person b to understand how they wronged person a. you really only have control over your own feelings and not others.

certainly there will be situations where you can make someone see how they have wronged you, but that is not due to any inherent control you have over them as we only have inherent control over our own perceptions or at least most of us have that control.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] April 4 2010 5:03 AM EDT


It is easiest to first consider forgiveness in the context of people who cannot have any desire for your forgiveness: the dead. If you have to lay down any bitterness, anger, hurt, etc. it is best to bury it with the casket. There's really no point in carrying all that "You did this! And now I'm ruined!" for people who can't appreciate how guilty they're supposed to feel, how much they're supposed to owe you, or what awful people, at core, they really are. So you offer a little "I forgive you all the following .... " and don't drag all that around, let it hold you back, etc.

Then you move on to people who probably wouldn't know one way or another, unless you made some big effort to inform them. "I forgive you Thoughtless Heartless Audi Driver, whom I didn't follow to his destination and beat with a tire iron, for nearly getting me killed 137 miles ago." You don't want to spend all day huffy and stampy and red-face in revenge fantasy reverie about something that is a. over 2. unfixable c. over. So you mentally forgive them, let it go, move on in peace and harmony with the ever-(r)evolving planet.

Mentally, next, comes those who you know are or would be sorry for their transgressions. "I forgive you Cousin Sheldon for shooting my eye out when we were 8." You don't even have to say it, because (again) it is for you, not him. You know he wouldn't do it today, because now that he's 37 everyone knows he shouldn't be trusted with a firearm (not even a bb gun) and that, if he ever thinks about it at all, he truly "feels bad" that you will never have binocular vision, not just sorry that he was grounded for three months when he was 8. You forgive him so that you can get on with your adult life, free of the constant "I coulda been a contender ... except my cousin half-blinded me when I was a small boy." excuse for every sorry failure of or in yourself. If you think he has been guilt-ridden all his life about your handicap, suffered at his childish hands, you can forgive him aloud so he can forgive himself and you both can move on to the greatness you so richly deserve.

Next, forgiveness for yourself of people who don't know they've transgressed, continue to transgress in ways that no longer have much impact on you, etc. You do this so you can roll your eyes when it happens again, instead of having some near-emotional-death experience. "I forgive you, Dad, for never remembering my birthday." These are the ones you just refuse to be hurt by anymore. It's basically a form of "I forgive you for being who you are, knowing that you can't change what happened and won't change yourself." This is how adult children get along with their parents and adults raise children. You know your parents are just who they are and your kids haven't learned to be anybody better yet. (this is well-covered in most "I love you because I'm obliged/habituated to do so, but I don't like you very much right now" relationships)

Having mastered the easy ones, you move on to "I forgive you, my beloved, for ..." but this one is tricky for reasons you left out of your initial post. Forgiveness is for you, true enough, but what about that other person? Are you willing to say "I love you, I forgive you, but I will not be in a position to let you X me again, so godspeed."? Do you say "I forgive you for being who you are"? That would seem like the sort of thing it is up to their God or yours to say. Is this a repeatable offense? Are you going to keep forgiving them for it? "I'm sorry you're a person so impoverished of spirit, soul and character that you can't even admit you've X'd me. I forgive you and good luck in your future endeavors." (This works particularly well on people who are now serving time, but continue to deny their wrong-doing, as well. They are _already_ paying for killing your children in a drunken accident, burning down your house, ruining your wedding with the salmonella, -- doubly so because they believe they are being punished unjustly! The suffering is doubled!)

You forgive to maintain or reclaim your personal power. Being angry, hurt, vengeful, etc. is a reactive position. If you wish to achieve or reclaim neutrality (equanimity), you let all that go via use of the magic words "I forgive you". The actual question is: do you give it all away again, by also agreeing to forget?

Do you agree that you might have to face this behavior again and are you willing to do so? If the other party takes no responsibility for wrong-doing, or doesn't believe a wrong has been committed, then a. she has to agree to avoid the future behavior merely because it hurts you not because it is inherently bad behavior (she will respect your feelings, even if you are an overly-sensitive girlie-man) b. you will have to agree that, in an outcome analysis, life with this behavior is better than life without all the rest (continue to work with him, even though he occasionally takes the company credit card to Voyeur, because "on balance" he's good to have around for brainstorming how to make shooting at illegals seem like an excellent idea).

Having practiced forgivenesses of all sorts up to this point, the "how" is the same. You say "I forgive you" with the intent of giving up your own emotional or mental involvement, irrespective of your object's feelings on the matter. The forgiveness is always the same. What you do after that, it seems, is what you are questioning.

See: Thich Nhat Hanh



QBBast [Hidden Agenda] April 4 2010 5:18 AM EDT



I forgot parsing forgiveness! You can forgive aspects of an incident, as well. If you happen to be an Academy Award Winning Actress (most any will do), you can say "I forgive you for being an idiot. [I forgive myself for not realizing you were an idiot.] I forgive you for violating our sacred trust. [I forgive myself for trusting an idiot.] I forgive you for my STD. [See previous.] But I will never forgive you for ruining the highlight of my professional career nor any of the attendant public humiliation. [You bastard.]"

To which your beloved may reply, "Good. Good. Hey, that might not have been _me_. And that's not my fault, if you weren't famous none of this would have happened."

To which you can say, "My friend Oprah is going to have you killed."

Thich Nhat Hanh does not endorse any of the above.
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