To be sure, forgiveness is a very complex matter, and “just forgiving” can’t be tantamount simply to extending forgiveness in response to an offender’s confession; nor can “just forgiving” be tantamount to a victim’s generous offer of mercy to an unapologetic offender. There are many moving stories of offenders seeking and finding forgiveness in the course of truth and reconciliation proceedings, and there are profound stories of victims unilaterally forgiving their unremorseful, unrepentant, unmoved offenders. While some of these very one-sided stories eventually reach good outcomes, many are left unfinished and unresolved. However, even when incomplete, one-sided forgiveness seems better than no-forgiveness at all. Forgiving someone seems to open a tiny crack in the wall of human indifference, injustice, and violence that lets the light of redemption get in – even if the offender turns away.
What I am realizing more and more through stories, in myself and providing transformation through restorative justice by such practices as education is that forgiveness is not an entitlement or something we may or may not deserve-it is only a gift that you or I can give. Forgiving is offering that gift in response to people who directly or indirectly offend, insult, or injure us, so that we and they might find redemption and that our bruised and broken relationships might one day be restored, in ourselves and our communities.
I am grateful to Greg and those willing to share their stories; for allowing the opportunity to hear truthful convictions of the heart. It helps to conceptualize the very real fears and apprehensions people have when trust, in any relationship is broken, and how the road to redemption, reparation and forgiveness may be sought but is not one that is easily traveled.
Yet, necessary for healing.