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Is forgivness a deliberate action that we are able to do, or is it an inate happening that we do not control?

Can it be both? Is it easier to forgive if you have a religious background than those of us who do not, but believe in something? Why can I forgive certain people and not others?

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:55 PM on Jul. 2, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (15)
  • I believe that forgiveness HAS to be a deliberate action, no matter what the cause. And no matter whether the forgiver is religious or not. The fact that you can forgive certain people and not others probably depends on the severity of their transgression. If your friend deliberately choked your hamster to death, I can see why you wouldn't feel compelled to forgive them. But if your mother spilled some spaghetti on your new carpet....I can see why you'd (eventually) forgive her.

    Answer by MommyDumDum at 5:59 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • I find religion irrelevant to a person's ability to forgive.

    Forgive, but don't ever forget. Be smart.

    Answer by BlueSaphire at 6:00 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • For the most part it is deliberate. Forgiving is one of the hardest things to do. I forgive mainly because when I do wrong to someone else I would want to be forgiven myself. Also Christians are taught from Christ that whatever we hold against another it will be held ten times ten against us. Then there's that Karma thing, good begets good and bad begets bad. On a side note do I trust everyone I forgive? Not necessarily, for some I've learned to be very cautious.


    Answer by oldermomof5 at 6:02 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • What if you can't forgive a relative? This is really serious.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:04 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • Forgiveness is a choice. You cannot control your feelings, but you can control who you forgive. Just because I forgive someone doesn't mean my feelings have changed. I can still have pain, or even sadness. I might not feel like being close to them anymore. But I have let it go and surrendered the situation to the judgment of God.

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 6:07 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • I think it's a bit of both. I like Cinnamon-mom's answer. I know there are family members (notably my ILs) who have hurt me very deeply in the past. I have decided to 'forgive' them. I would be lying if I said I now like them... I am not there. And I would be lying if I said I am not still angry sometimes, or that I am not still hurt sometimes. However I have come to the conclusion that it's better not to carry the hurt forwards... to feel the feelings while they are there but not nurture a grudge. For me it comes to focusing on the present- for me the inability to forgive has a lot to do with applying past instances to present moments. If I can keep the past out of it, I'm at least free to respond to the present moment without tainting it with the past. To me that is forgiveness... not nurturing a grudge, making every meeting a fresh opportunity.

    Answer by Freela at 6:44 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • I think it's both.

    Some people are very talented at being forgiving. And I'm pretty good at it for things that I've done too (like someone cutting me off) - because I have empathy for that.

    But a lot of times, I hold grudged, and I really need divine help to let it go.

    Answer by mogencreative at 6:46 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • Well, I think it is a choice. There are things that people have done to me that I have forgiven ( but not necessarily forgotten). But, I will never be able to forgive the things my real father has done. I think forgiveness can only go so far. No one can expect you to let people just walk all over you. You have to draw a line somewhere.

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 7:46 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • I am saved by God, I know that I must forgive others,so I can be forgiven of my sins. Yes, it is very hard,like someone else said,especially when you are hurt by a family member, I was very hurt by a DD ,for the choices she made,but what hurt the most,she never said she was sorry,she told others she was wrong and she was sorry,but she never told me. I do think a person have to admit that they hurt you,so you can forgive them. Also, hating and forgiving is 2 completely different things,I have heard ppl saying, I hate him,I'll never forgive him,this is wrong,I love my DD with all my heart,but,I just want her to know how deep she hurt me,as time goes on,I pray that God will fix my heart completely.I have learned holding things in your heart can cause you to be sick mentally and physically.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:50 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • Forgiveness is a conscious action. Not forgiving only hurts you. Think about it. The person who offended probably doesn't care one way or the other if you forgive them or not. They have moved on, but when you hold onto offences they take root and become bitterness. Bitterness only hurts you.

    Answer by teamquinn at 8:44 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

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