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It is Difficult to Forgive
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Published: Tue, 18 Jul 2017
Sometimes forgiveness can be difficult. It is not always easy to forgive someone for doing something wrong. There may be times where the transgression is so severe that it causes a person to think differently about someone, never being able to forget what they did to them. The Sunflower is a book about the possibilities and limits of forgiveness. Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish prisoner, is called to the bedside of a dying Nazi soldier and is faced with the dilemma of being asked for forgiveness for the soldier’s horrible atrocities he had committed during the war. The Jewish boy is unsure of what he should do or say. As he sits by the dying man listening to his story and comforting him for his last few minutes on Earth, he cannot bring himself to respond in any way. The boy sits in silence and does not grant nor deny the dying Nazi’s request for forgiveness.
There are many terms for being forgiven. One cannot simply go through life doing whatever they please to anyone and expecting an apology will suffice afterwards. “One cannot, and should not, go around happily killing and torturing and then, when the moment has come, simply ask, and receive, forgiveness,” says Herbert Mercuse (Mercuse 208). A person may offend someone and feel guilty about it and then seek forgiveness from the person so that they may be on good terms with each other again after. Usually, after a transgression has occurred, the person who has been wronged may be upset or angry. They may not be able to offer forgiveness right away. The perpetrator must respect their need for time and understand that what they have done offended them. “The recognition, if nothing else, is an important first step,” says Sven Alkalaj (Alkalaj 103).
Forgiveness cannot just be requested from anyone. In order for someone to give forgiveness they need to be involved in the actions committed by the individual. If someone greatly offends you and then asks another person for forgiveness and they say yes does that really mean they are forgiven for their actions? Simon was not able to forgive this man on behalf of the victims who were so maliciously murdered. Alan L. Berger says, “I may forgive one who has sinned against me. I may not forgive one who has taken the life of another,” (Berger 118). Does Simon really think that if he could contact the dead victims that they would want to offer this man forgiveness? Absolutely not. The Holocaust itself was a massive massacre. Literally millions of innocent people were brutally murdered just for not meeting the requirements of the “perfect race”. Anyone and everyone involved besides the victims do not deserve any forgiveness for such a horrible event. Even Franklin H. Littell says that, “The problem of the dying perpetrator was the fact that the only human persons who could have forgiven him were dead” (Littell 197). Families and children were murdered in front of one another for no reason. How can a monster be given forgiveness for these actions even on his death bed?
A misconception about forgiveness comes when it is confused with condoning or pardoning the offensive behavior. Forgiveness is not the same thing as forgetting, condoning, or pardoning. In today’s modern times it seems that the typical behavior is to “forgive and forget”. Just because we forgive does not mean that we do not seek justice, speak out against the offender, or seek restitution. These things are all distinct from the act of forgiveness. The dying soldier may have truly been sorry for the things he had done. He may have actually deserved the chance to be forgiven, but even then the things he did would not just disappear.
The crimes committed by this dying soldier and all the other soldiers are not simply something that can go away upon forgiveness. The solider seeking forgiveness was lucky to be dying before facing any real consequences of his actions. What these men were doing was extremely illegal and morally wrong. There is no way to replace a little boy’s murdered parents and siblings. After the Holocaust, trials were held to condemn the men responsible for these atrocities. Most of the men who were convicted were sentenced to death. The law offers no forgiveness.
Another common misconception about forgiveness is that it makes the offended seem weak by accepting an apology and simply forgiving. It is never easy to forgive someone who has wronged you in some way. It is especially hard to forgive someone if what they have done has extremely hurt you emotionally and even physically in this case.
There are many other people who actually think that the soldier could have deserved forgiveness (Wells). He could have been truly sorry for his actions. Some of the Holocaust survivors choose to forgive the soldiers that did these things because otherwise they would be angry and vengeful. They realize they were put through horrible unnecessary torture, but they need to move on with their lives in order to achieve a healthy life. Just as a victim of any other type of attack needs to often go to therapy sessions to try and overcome that obstacle in their life. It is all about allowing time to heal the wounds since the event. It is normal to be upset for more than a day for some things.
Eva Fleischner talks about how the dying Nazi soldier is actually still at fault with his attempt at seeking forgiveness. The dying man simply wants any Jew to come to his bedside to listen to his plea. Yet, the man is oblivious to the ongoing pain and suffering of the Jews even after this man’s passing. Viewing Simon as a representative of his people, he seeks to absolve himself and ease his insistent conscience through confessing and expressing his regret to him. He begs for a response, for confirmation that his remorse is accepted. He desperately awaits the comforting words that might provide him a peaceful death. Simon, torn and confused, himself still captive in a living hell manned by this man’s comrades, holds his silence. That silence will forever trouble him, tugging at his conscience till his last day. This dying man represents each and every one of the murdering Nazi soldiers. Even after he is dead there will continue to be more deaths of Jews. Fleischner considers the possibility that if maybe the dying man would have summoned another Nazi guard, that he could have given a more genuine apology (Fleischner 143).
Another thing that is sometimes thought about forgiveness that is not true is the idea that refusing to forgive is a fitting way to punish the offender. In the story the dying soldier made a deathbed wish; to confess his crimes to a Jew and to have that person forgive him. Some people believe that forgiving him would have given him exactly what he wanted. And withholding that forgiveness would have punished him, quite justly, for his heinous acts. I do not think that this was Simon’s intentions at all. He did not have any thought of trying to punish the soldier more than the anguish he was already in. More often than not, it is the one who refuses to forgive who suffers more. In this case that is true. Because of Simon’s own silence he is devastated of whether or not he made the right choice.
The act of forgiving is something that we carry with us throughout our entire lives. The fact that we do not truly forget what has happened once we forgive means that there will always be the thought of that event in the back of our minds. If a sibling hurts you, but then apologizes, each time you see them there will be that memory and you will silently forgive them again for their regretful actions. This happens with everything that you offer forgiveness for. It would not make sense to forgive someone and then when you think of the event you get upset. In that case, that would mean that your forgiveness was not truly meant and you still resented them for doing what they did.
Simon is still haunted by this experience years after it occurred. He ponders whether or not he made the right decision. He truly felt that this dying man’s apology was sincere, and that he may have been truly resentful for his sins. Still Simon remained silent and offered no reconciliation to this man. He held his hand through the whole story and even swatted away flies that bothered the dying soldier. It was simply not his position to be able to offer forgiveness for this man’s sins. Since the victims are dead, God is the only one who can offer him any peace of mind. Simon cannot offer a response that might not be what the victims would want. I am sure the victims would much rather have been alive then cruelly murdered. Forgiveness is not for the weak or timid. It is not the same as condoning a behavior. Withholding forgiveness leads to more suffering for us than the offender, and the practice of forgiveness is not a one-shot deal; it is a life-long discipline.
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The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand. You can help Wikipedia by reading Wikipedia:How to write Simple English pages , then simplifying the article. (June 2016)
Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven (1907), a painting by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.
Forgiveness is the choice that a person makes to forgive another person for an offense or something that is illegal or immoral . Forgiveness is intentional and voluntary . When someone forgives someone else, they let go of negative emotions , for example vengefulness .  They wish their offender well. 
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Religious views of forgiveness
- 2.1 Judaism
- 2.2 Christianity
- 2.3 Islam
- 2.4 Bahá’í Faith
- 2.5 Buddhism
- 2.6 Hinduism
- 2.7 Jainism
- 3 Related pages
- 4 References
- 5 Other websites
Introduction[ change | change source ]
Forgiveness is a mental or spiritual process. It means no longer feeling angry at another person, or at yourself. This could be because of a crime , a sin , an offense, an insult , a difference, an error, a mistake , or a failure .
Forgiveness does not require punishment or restitution . It is given without any expectation of compensation . Forgiveness may involve offering an apology .
Forgiveness involves the feelings of the person who forgives and their relationship with the person being forgiven. Forgiveness can occur without the person being forgiven ever knowing about it. For example, a person can forgive another person who is dead or who is not seen for a long time.
Forgiveness means forgetting offenses. It is sincere and genuine . It does not impose humiliating conditions. It is not motivated by pride . True forgiveness is known by deeds and not by words .
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Religious views of forgiveness[ change | change source ]
Most world religions include teachings about forgiveness. These teachings form the basis of modern traditions and practices of forgiveness.
Judaism[ change | change source ]
In Judaism , if a person causes harm , he or she must go to those he or she has harmed and ask for forgiveness.  If he or she sincerely and honestly apologizes to the person who he or she has harmed and tries to rectify the wrong, the wronged person must forgive him or her.
“[J]ust as I forgive everyone, so may You grant me grace in the eyes of others, that they too forgive me absolutely.” —Tefila Zaka 
Each year, Jews observe Yom Kippur , or a Day of Atonement .  Before Yom Kippur, Jews will ask forgiveness of those they have wronged during the past year (if they have not already done so).  During Yom Kippur itself, Jews fast and pray for God ‘s forgiveness for the sins they have made against God in the past year.  God can only forgive one for the sins one has committed against God. This is why it is necessary for Jews also to seek forgiveness from those people who they have wronged. 
Christianity[ change | change source ]
In Christianity , Jesus spoke of the importance of forgiving others, or showing mercy . In the New Testament , there are several examples.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” —Matthew 5:7 (NIV)
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” —Luke 6:27-29 (NIV)
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” —Luke 6:36 (NIV)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” —Luke 6:37 (NIV)
Jesus used the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) to say that we should forgive without limits. The Parable of the Prodigal Son  is perhaps the best known parable about forgiveness and refers to God’s forgiveness for his people.
Islam[ change | change source ]
Islam teaches that Allah is Al-Ghaffur (“The Oft-Forgiving”) and that Allah is the original source of all forgiveness (ghufran غفران). Seeking forgiveness from Allah with repentance is a virtue . 
There are numerous verses in the Qur’an and the Hadiths that recommend forgiveness.
“Allah forgives what is past.” —Qur’an 5:95
Islam recommends forgiveness between believers, because Allah values forgiveness. However, Islam also allows revenge, to the extent of the harm that was done.
“The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto: but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for Allah loveth not those who do wrong.” —Qur’an 42:40
Forgiveness between believers is encouraged, with a promise of reward from Allah. 
Bahá’í Faith[ change | change source ]
In the Bahá’í Faith , Bahá’í literature explains how to be forgiving towards others.
“Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness.” — `Abdu’l-Bahá , The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 92
The writings of Shoghi Effendi , the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, state that you should “forgive and forget” a person’s actions against you, so that you will be forgiven. 
Buddhism[ change | change source ]
In Buddhism , forgiveness prevents harmful thoughts from damaging a person’s mental well-being.  Buddhism recognizes that feelings of hatred have a lasting effect on karma . Buddhism encourages thoughts that have a positive effect.
“In contemplating the law of karma, we realize that it is not a matter of seeking revenge but of practicing mettā and forgiveness, for the victimizer is, truly, the most unfortunate of all.” 
When there is resentment, the Buddhist practice is to calmly release them. Buddhism focuses on release from suffering through meditation .
Buddhism questions the emotions that make forgiveness necessary. 
“If we haven’t forgiven, we keep creating an identity around our pain, and that is what is reborn. That is what suffers.” 
Buddhism emphasizes mettā (loving kindness), karuṇā (compassion), mudita ( joy ), and upekkhā ( equanimity ), as ways to avoid resentments in the first place. These ideas help to understand suffering in the world, both our own suffering and the suffering of others.
Hinduism[ change | change source ]
Forgiveness is one of the six cardinal virtues of Hinduism . A person who does not forgive carries baggage of bad memories, negative feelings, and unresolved emotions that affect the present as well as the future. In Hinduism, one must forgive others, and one must also seek forgiveness for wronging someone else. 
Hindu epics and ancient literature also discuss forgiveness. For example:
“Forgiveness is virtue; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is the Vedas; forgiveness is the Shruti; … forgiveness is holiness; and by forgiveness … the universe is held together.” — Mahabharata , Book 3, Vana Parva, Section XXIX 
“Righteousness is the one highest good, forgiveness is the one supreme peace, knowledge is one supreme contentment, and benevolence, one sole happiness.” — Mahabharata , Book 5, Udyoga Parva, Section XXXIII 
In Hinduism, you seek forgiveness from those you have wronged, and from society at large through charity, purification, fasting, rituals, and meditation. Forgiveness in Hinduism does not require that a person make peace with their offender and it does not rule out reconciliation in some situations. Forgiveness in Hindu philosophy is being compassionate, tender, kind and letting go of the harm or hurt caused by someone or something else.  Forgiveness is essential for one to free oneself from negative thoughts, and being able to focus on blissfully living a moral and ethical life (dharmic life).  In the highest self-realized state, forgiveness becomes essence of one’s personality, where the persecuted person remains unaffected, without agitation, without feeling like a victim, free from anger (akrodhi).  
Jainism[ change | change source ]
In Jainism , forgiveness is one of the main virtues that needs to be acquired by the Jains. Forgiveness (or kṣamāpanā) forms part of one of the ten characteristics of dharma .  Jain texts quote Māhavīra on forgiveness: 
By practicing prāyaṣcitta (repentance), a soul gets rid of sins, and commits no transgressions; he who correctly practises prāyaṣcitta gains the road and the reward of the road, he wins the reward of good conduct. By begging forgiveness he obtains happiness of mind; thereby he acquires a kind disposition towards all kinds of living beings; by this kind disposition he obtains purity of character and freedom from fear.— Māhavīra in Uttarādhyayana Sūtra 29:17–18
In the Jain prayer pratikramana , Jains repeatedly seek forgiveness from various creatures — even from beings like plants and microorganisms that they may have harmed while eating and working.  
I ask pardon of all creatures, may all creatures pardon me.
May I have friendship with all beings and enmity with none.
In their daily prayers, Jains seek forgiveness from all creatures: 
I seek forgiveness from all those living beings which I may have tortured while walking, coming and going, treading on living organism, seeds, green grass, dew drops, ant hills, moss, live water, live earth, spider web and others. I seek forgiveness from all these living beings, be they — one sensed, two sensed, three sensed, four sensed or five sensed. Which I may have kicked, covered with dust, rubbed with ground, collided with other, turned upside down, tormented, frightened, shifted from one place to another or killed and deprived them of their lives. (By confessing) may I be absolved of all these sins.
Forgiveness is asked by uttering the phrase, Micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ. This phrase means, “May all the evil that has been done be fruitless.”  On samvatsari , Jains greet their friends and relatives saying micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ and seeking their forgiveness. Letters are sent and telephone calls are made to friends and relatives asking their forgiveness.  There are no arguments or disputes after samvatsari.
Related pages[ change | change source ]
|The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for:|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Forgiveness|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Forgiveness .|
References[ change | change source ]
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 “American Psychological Association. Forgiveness: A Sampling of Research Results.” (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 “JewFAQ discussion of forgiveness on Yom Kippur” . 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-26.
- ↑ Cook, B. Bruce (2010). Redeeming the Wounded. Xulon Press. p. 111. ISBN 1609576926 .
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- ↑ “The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Christianity and Buddhism” . 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
- ↑ Abu‐Nimer & Nasser (2013), Forgiveness in The Arab and Islamic Contexts, Journal of Religious Ethics, 41(3), pp 474-494
- ↑ Mohammad Hassan Khalil (2012), Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question, Oxford University Press, pp 65-94, ISBN 978-0199796663
- ↑ “Living the Life” . 1991. Retrieved 2015-03-21.
- ↑ “Psychjourney – Introduction to Buddhism Series” . 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-19.
- ↑ “Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery – Universal Loving Kindness” . 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- ↑ “Spirit of Vatican II: Buddhism – Buddhism and Forgiveness” . 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- ↑ “Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery – Preparing for Death” . 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-19.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Michael E. McCullough, Kenneth I. Pargament, Carl E. Thoresen (2001), Forgiveness: Theory, Research, and Practice, The Guildford Press, ISBN 978-1572307117 , pp 21-39
- ↑ Vana Parva , see Section XXIX; Gutenberg Archives Mahabharata Vol I (Kisari Mohan Ganguli 1896); Produced by John B. Hare, David King, and David Widger
- ↑ Udyoga Parva see page 61-62, Mahabharata, Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
- ↑ Temoshok and Chandra, Forgiveness: Theory, Research, and Practice, The Guildford Press, ISBN 978-1572307117 , see Chapter 3
- ↑ Radhakrishnan (1995), Religion and Society, Indus, Harper Collins India
- ↑ Sinha (1985), Indian psychology, Vol 2, Emotion and Will, Motilal Banarsidas, New Delhi
- ↑ Varni, Jinendra; Ed. Prof. Sagarmal Jain, Translated Justice T.K. Tukol and Dr. K.K. Dixit (1993). Samaṇ Suttaṁ. New Delhi: Bhagwan Mahavir memorial Samiti. verse 84
- ↑ *Jacobi, Hermann (1895). (ed.) F. Max Müller, ed. The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra . Sacred Books of the East vol.45, Part 2 (in English: translated from Prakrit). Oxford: The Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-7007-1538-X . Parameter error in isbn : Invalid ISBN . to the UK:Routledge (2001) reprint. URL is the scan version of the original 1895 reprint. Note: ISBN refers
- ↑ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1691-9 . p. 285
- ↑ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1691-9 . p.18 and 224
- ↑ Translated from Prakrit by Nagin J. shah and Madhu Sen (1993) Concept of Pratikramana Ahmedabad: Gujarat Vidyapith pp.25–26
- ↑ Chapple. C.K. (2006) Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life Delhi:Motilal Banarasidas Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-2045-6 p.46
- ↑ Hastings, James (2003), Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 10, Kessinger Publishing ISBN 978-0-7661-3682-3 p.876
Other websites[ change | change source ]
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The famous saying goes “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. What makes the power of forgiveness comparable to God? The very nature of humans is to get angry and feel resentful towards those who have hurt us or did some harm to us in any way.
We tend to remember the undesirable actions of others which impacted us and made us feel bad. Forgiveness is the act of overcoming the feeling of resentment or revenge for the person who has done wrong actions.
Forgiveness is a virtue but the way people perceive it is quite relative. Some people think that certain actions are forgivable while others are not. Some people think that forgiveness encourages the wrongdoer to perform ill deeds repeatedly. Forgiveness is subjective and the act of forgiveness can have many meanings. Acceptance of apology may be forgiveness for some, while helping the other who hurt you to get out of the habit of ill-treatment may be a way for others.
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We all make mistakes. So when we learn to forgive others, we can also seek forgiveness when we commit follies. Also if we are able to forgive others, we also learn to forgive ourselves in situations of self-guilt. Thus the virtue of forgiveness helps us come out of the feeling of self blame. If we fail to forgive ourselves in time, we often end up realizing that others had forgiven us long back, but we kept feeling bad about ourselves all this time.
Forgiveness helps us feel light and helps us get rid of hard feelings that occupy our mind and heart and eat away our peace of mind. Forgiveness is a way to self-fulfillment. People who can readily forgive others are much more responsible and satisfied inside than those who keep grudges against others and develop feelings of enmity. The feeling of anguish only results in arguments, fights, mistreatments and war in certain cases. Those who forgive help create positive energy on this planet.
Now, let us take the example of a terrorist who kills hundreds of innocent people in a terrorist attack. Does he deserve forgiveness? Such criminals kill common man in the name of religion and consider it a way to please or reach their God. Heinous Acts of this degree do not deserve mercy and forgiveness. Though there may be people who would still believe that forgiveness is humanity, yet to discourage and prevent any such future acts of terrorism, such people must be severely punished and not forgiven.
If the people who are close to you betray or hurt you, you find it most difficult to forgive them. Sometimes the extent to which your trust is breached determines the ease or difficulty in forgiving. But it is true that the more easily we forgive the other person, the less likely we shall suffocate ourselves keeping bad intentions for the wrongdoer. We need to feed it into our system to let go so that we do not stay annoyed and offended for long. Our grudges will only affect the relationship with the person and not hurt the other person in any way. The ability to forgive gives us a sense of freedom and makes us suffer less and feel lesser misery and pain.
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