Refusing to forgive, demanding repayment

Here are some examples, to my eye, of what it looks like to demand repayment. In other words, this is what refusing to forgive looks like.


* We say or do cruel things to the wrongdoer with the intent of breaking them down through inspiring feelings of guilt or shame.

* We continue to bring up the past harm that we say we’ve forgiven in order to put the other person in his or her place.

* We make passive aggressive comments in public that give other people “clues” that the wrongdoer has done something wrong with the intent to expose the wrongdoer so that he or she, once again, feels ashamed.

* We make passive aggressive comments in private with the intent, again, to inspire shame. This is the human-to-human equivalent of rubbing your dog’s nose in his own pee.

* We may intentionally withhold affection from the wrongdoer, hoping that they recognize our coldness while believing they deserve it because of what they’ve done.

* In the case of a literal money-lending scenario, what we would be thinking about here is not just repayment of the debt, but cruelty in the process. So we would be thinking about demanding unfair or predatory interest rates that we don’t really need. We’re just demanding it for the sake of punishing the debtor.

* In our example, Jason could demand repayment in any of the above ways. He could also decide to go out and have his own affair with Tiger’s wife as an act of revenge. Demanding repayment can be either passive or active. Revenge, as it were, can be its own demand for repayment.


The bottom line is, there are many ways to demand repayment inappropriately and that is what we need to pay attention to if we’re attempting to forgive a specific debt (or debtor).