definition of forgive / definition of forgiveness

an original definition by J. E. Brown

Forgiveness is one of the benefits of apologizing.
Forgiveness cannot be understood unless you know precisely what an apology is.

Some people want to be forgiven but refuse to apologize for what they’ve done. If you feel you may be dealing with such a person, see Definition of Apology for a list of warning signs.

Excerpts from my book (in progress)

False Forgiveness

Some people are under the impression that forgiveness is mandatory. Such people will claim they’ve forgiven you when they haven’t. To identify such people, look for illogical statements like: {Read this comp1ete article at .}

  • “I accept his apology, but I don’t forgive him.”
  • “I have forgiven you. I just don’t think we should hang out together anymore.”
  • “I do forgive you. All I’m saying is I think we should see other people.”
  • “I don’t believe in holding a grudge, so, I forgive everybody.” (That sounds like a naive statement of policy, not a statement of reflection or self-knowledge or self-observation.)
  • When I was very young, my little playmates used to tell each other, “I hate you! ... But of course I love you In God’s Way.” As if that would satisfy either God or the hated person.

— J. E. Brown

Random Thoughts.

The main use of “forgiveness” language is to manipulate others into forgiving.

Abuse thrives on forgiveness.

Much of what people call forgiveness is actually settling.

Forgiving people who are not sorry is a sign of desperation.

Forgiveness is what happens when the hurt feelings subside and are not continually renewed by reoffense. Forgiveness is not a choice, but a natural process of mellowing. ... Announcing with your words (or with your attitude) that “I’ve decided that what I did wasn’t so bad, and so I’ve decided it’s time for you to forgive me now” is one such reoffense.

— J. E. Brown

5th edition 07 May 2016
4th edition 16 Sep 2007
3rd edition 14 Apr 2007
2nd edition 03 Aug 2006
1st edition 08 Dec 2004

more Thoughts of the Week


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  • Letters of Correction: How to correct someone who abuses you.
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    We offer this one:
    How Rude! -- a booklet about rude and abusive people, and how to recognize them

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