Wednesday, June 30, 2010


To forgive… means willing to throw away our resentment at being wronged. This entails not just containing or restraining our resentment, but letting go of it entirely…

Forgiveness means more then just rolling over and playing dead. There are a few things forgiveness is not, and these may help balance the picture. Forgiveness does not mean pardon. Forgiveness is personal; it refers to the impact an offense has on you and your need to release the resentment you feel. Pardon is legal rather personal, concerned only with the legal status of the offense, not the relationship between the offender and the victim. And pardon, unlike forgiveness, means letting someone off the moral hook and releasing them from the punishment they deserve…

A second thing that forgiveness does not mean is excuse… C. S. Lewis wrote, “ there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says: “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology. I will never hold it against you, and everything between us will be exactly as it was before.’ But excusing says: ‘ I see that you couldn’t help it, or didn’t mean it, you weren’t really to blame.’ If one was not really to blame, then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense, forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites.”

If this is true, we need not to be afraid that in practicing forgiveness we are somehow tolerating wrong or condoning evil. Forgiveness does not mean, “ceasing to blame,” but rather, “letting go of resentment.”

- Allen C. Guelzo

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