How can forgiveness be an action?

What if forgiveness is an action? What if forgiveness is about something as simple as not demanding compensation for wrongdoing (similar to God’s instructions about forgiving debts)? It’s not obvious that forgiveness would be an action, I understand. So, what kind of action am I talking about? I’m going to go through this slowly for the sake of clarity. Please bear with.

Over the next few days I’m going to explore a new “theory” of forgiveness that I am working on. It will be different. Some people will love it, some people will hate it. But, we’ll all be better off if we engage in the process of working through these ideas together. Comment on the posts. Let me know what the strong points are and what the weak points are. I don’t promise to agree (though I will agree at times, naturally)- but I do promise to engage. We all are better off when we engage with each other. Here goes:

What is Forgiveness about?

Forgiveness is about what we do or don’t do in response to an offense. Notice what I did not include here: I did not include feelings or emotions language. I’m not suggesting feelings are unimportant when it comes to forgiveness, I am merely suggesting they are of secondary importance to our actions. We have been trained to think of forgiveness only in emotional terms but, it’s my theory, based on the dynamics of biblical metaphors (go back a few days to see our readings of Deut. 15 and Matt. 18 on this), that forgiveness is primarily the action we take towards (or against) our wrongdoers. I’ll unpack this tomorrow.

Why is this important?

It frees us from worrying over that which is beyond our control: our feelings. And, it forces us to focus on what we can control: our actions towards our offenders.