Holden Village Staff Experience August, 2003

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The sorts of things we forgive

We forgive persons, not institutions.  We cannot forgive corporations, the media, or governments.  We must find a living, breathing, human being who wronged us, in order to be able to forgive.


We forgive persons for what they do, not for what they are.  We don't forgive people for being ugly or lazy or arrogant, or any of the labels we pin on them.  People don't wrong us by being liars; they wrong us by lying about us.  They do not wrong us by being untrustworthy; they wrong us by betraying our trust.  We can forgive them only for doing those wrongs.


We forgive persons for what they do to seriously wound us.  We all do things to wound each other that we can bear with magnanimity; but the deep wounds, the ones that stick around to continue to give us pain, are the ones that forgiving can heal.  Forgiving is reserved for serious wounds, not for annoyances.


We forgive persons for what they do to wrong us when they wound us.  There are pains, and there are wrongful pains.  A wife who says she will leave her alcoholic husband if he does not go to AA is not inflicting wrongful pain.  But if a friend betrays your trust, the pain you feel is wrongful, and therefore a candidate for forgiveness.


Forgiving is not meant for every pain people cause us.  It is for the wounds that stab at our souls, for wrongs that we cannot put up with, ever, from anyone, not for petty annoyances.  When we forgive people for things that do not need forgiving, we dilute the power and interrupt the healing of forgiveness.

Links to other Forgiveness pages will appear here.

Links to other Forgiveness pages will appear here.