Do We Need A New Word for ‘Forgiveness’?

I understand the power of forgiveness.  It releases us from the negative energy which holds us to those who have harmed us. To persist in ill will towards any other human being usually damages us much more than the intended target.  The Chinese proverb says that if you hate someone, you might as well dig two graves speaks to this truth.

Yet I can’t help but believe that forgiveness implies the repentance on the part of the one who has injured the other. Without genuine repentance, true forgiveness seems extremely difficult if not impossible to experience.

Some might accuse me of not being ‘spiritually advanced’ enough to be able to forgive those who have purposefully hurt or injured me or my loved  ones even in the absence of their repentance.

My sincere response is that to me the term forgivenss implies a tacit acceptance of the injurious action.  I don’t believe it is metaphysically useful or even reasonable to accept an evil action on this basis.

Instead, I can state that I can show compassion towards someone who has injured me or my loved ones.  I can do this out of sense of pity–that the other is so deluded or deranged that they can justify their own acts of evil and not feel that they have done anything wrong.

Karma will take care of such actions and the law of give and take, of balance will answer such behavior.

My feelings of compassion/pity allow me to release my feelings of anger or desire for revenge.  I am no longer tied to that ‘other’ who has perpetrated an act of brutality or vengeance on me or my loved ones.

So let’s strive to come up with a new word for forgiveness, one that does not diminish the power of an evil act, or take the perpetrator ‘off the hook’ but frees us from the trap of hatred or thoughts of revenge..

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