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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Facilitating Factors of Forgiveness

Let us begin by considering those factors that make forgiveness and mercy difficult:

  • The self-righteousness of the victim
  • The heightened seriousness of the hurt received
  • The planned/intentional/willful nature of the hurt
  • The injured party has/had no love for the perpetrator–consider your attitude towards termites destroying your home
  • The injury received was in no way justified or countervailing in nature
  • The injury was inflicted without any aspect of self-defense
  • The close proximity of the injury to the present
  • Those inflicting the injury were recipients in their lives of advantages, privileges, and blessings–it is difficult to argue that they were driven by need or by circumstances beyond their control
  • The general absence of extenuating circumstances
  • The injuring party seems to have no redeeming characteristics–it is nearly impossible to empathize with them on any level
  • It is a repeated, ongoing offence–the hurt continues to be inflicted in an unabated fashion
  • The introduction into the hurtful offense a great number of emotional factors–especially those that drive prejudice, jealousy, resentment, retribution
  • The perceived insincerity in expressions of repentance or regret by the perpetrator(s) 

Factors that facilitate forgiveness and mercy:

  • The injured party knows the power of forgiveness for they are deeply aware of having been in need forgiveness themselves
  • One loves the perpetrator–consider a puppy that damages one’s house but is readily forgiven 
  • The hurt received was comparative trivial in nature
  • The hurt was inflicted accidentally and unintentionally
  • The injury occurred in self-defense
  • The general abundance of extenuating circumstances–the hurt can be rationalized as being in some sense understandable or justified
  • The hurt was long ago or in some other way remote
  • The one(s) inflicting the hurt themselves lived in a hostile environment beyond their control
  • The injuring party readily elicits empathy despite what they have done
  • The injury is not ongoing but is isolated and receding to the past
  • The injury arouses few angry emotions
  • The perpetrator(s) express sincere repentance and regret

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