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Looking for understanding

I have mixed feelings about how the word forgiveness is used. Some people “forgive,” in order to appear virtuous to others. Judging others is frowned upon by many, but I’ve no doubt those “frowners” do their share of judging too. Is forgiveness about letting someone “off the hook” for a perceived offense? Does it mean, “I’m done being mad at ya?” Sometimes it’s an instrument of emotional blackmail, when someone says, “I forgave you for that, so you should do something for me.” There can be arrogance in forgiveness, as it can imply that the person doing the forgiving is qualified to judge the actions of others, usually without knowing the background of the individual being judged/forgiven.

People want to feel forgiven, I think universally. I want them to feel that way too.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean to re-introduce vulnerability in a situation. I forgave mean dog, who bit me on the ass. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give him a chance to do it again.

Many years ago, I heard about a guy who’s son wandered off with all the household cash and blew it. Then many months later, he showed up at the door, a physical wreck. The father was happy to see him, and did all he could to make his son comfortable. So, was the father a putz? Certainly many would think so. The father had no need to forgive his son, because he had not judged or condemned him in the first place. I suspect the father believed that his son’s experience was essential on his path to wisdom.

A concept I entertain is that forgiveness = for and give. So, for some offense, give whatever you can to help the person stop offending. For pain, give what you can to help heal. For anger, give peace and acceptance (when possible and safe to do so). In other words, for whatever the problem and related bad behavior is, give effort to resolve the problem. Another way to put it is to withhold judgment and look past the offense, to see what help may be possible.

There are countless times when that approach doesn’t work, and the best thing to do is protect yourself and perhaps others.

Anyway, with all that said, how you’re feeling is quite understandable. You are around people who are too messed up, and intervention in their behaviors is pointless.

I hope you find a place of happiness and contentment.