• Dr. Clarence Trausch

Spurious Forgiveness

Not all teachings in the bible are of the same peerless quality, some, in fact, are simply wrong, psychologically and even philosophically.

Take the teaching on forgiveness, the bible (Jesus) passages often contradict one another. Jesus teaches, for example, to forgive offenses, “7x 70 times”, considered an ultimate number, but no illustrations are provided.

The truth, psychologically speaking, is that if to forgive one who has not acknowledged his guilt or made reparation cannot be real. To do so is to discredit oneself, and to risk enabling the offender.

Let’s look at both issues.

When an offense is deliberately committed an injury occurs. To “forgive” the offender is to left handedly dismiss ones own legitimate response to the offense. Further, the “forgiveness” does no justice and therefore violates another important virtue, truth. The offender is not corrected, pays no price, and is seemingly free to repeat his or her behavior.

Even for a strong and healthy minded victim, one who seeks freedom from the dramas of life, forgiveness is not the option. Rather, non-attachment to being justified is the goal, even as such a healthy-minded person points out the offense and calls for justice. Seeking justice, while freed from the attachment of the outcome, is where the virtuous person resides.

Surprisingly, in other gospel parts, Jesus calls for justice in action “If your brother offends you, seek him out and point out the offense”. This is a healthier way to behave in spite of religious teachings and Christian organizations that require total forgiveness of every offense.

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