Today will make no sense without yesterday, so get caught up. We’re unpacking an example of how our theory of forgiveness works in practice.
If part of our theory is to view the injured party as a lender, and the wrongdoer as a debtor, we have to ask what the debt is (yesterday’s blog) so we can discover how the debt could be repaid. If we know these things, then we can discover what it looks like not to demand repayment (assuming that we simply cannot do option 1 and treat the offender as if no harm has occurred).
How could the debtor repay the debt?
What I am trying to get at with this question is this: How would someone make an amends in such a case as this? Were we to talk about Jenny, one of the primary issues needed to be compensated for is trust. Again, there isn’t “one” answer to the question. One can imagine, perhaps, that a skilled therapist could construct any number of strategies for rebuilding trust in relationship. Perhaps the first step, then, is finding a skilled therapist. The debtor, by virtue of committing themselves to the project of rebuilding trust, repays the debt. This is assuming, of course, that the debtor is truly interested in repaying the debt.
When we’re dealing with this question, we’re specifically talking about a scenario where someone desires to “right” his or her “wrong”. In such cases as this, offended and offender work collaboratively to figure out how to make repayment a possibility, and that is the work of forgiveness.
We’ll continue to unpack the example tomorrow.