The Dark Side of Forgiveness

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

The trouble with forgiveness

is that the idea contains

within itself

its own trap.

For, once we have concluded there is a need for forgiveness,

we have also implicitly concluded…

-That we’ve been mistreated (and we shouldn’t have been).

-That the act or behavior was “wrong” (and that needs to be punished).

-That the offender should have known better (and thus chose to hurt us).

And how in the hell are we supposed to look the other way when...


With an act that was clearly WRONG

By someone who CHOSE TO HURT US?

Short answer is: we can’t.

You see…

This is the dark side of forgiveness,

the side that nobody talks about:

Forgiveness allows us to hold on to the most poisonous thought of all: that we are victims of someone who could have chosen to act differently.

The trouble is not that we cannot forgive. The trouble is that we assign blame in the first place.

And while it may not be a popular view,

there is no place for blame in this world.

(and to be clear, there is a place for accountability,

Just no place for blame)

And here’s why:

The truth is that WE ARE ALL always doing the very best we can

given the forces that are acting upon us in any particular moment;

The forces of thought.

The forces of inherited belief.

The forces of past experience.

The forces of perspective. The forces of emotion.

The forces of behavioral patterning.

Just to name a few.

These forces, which stand largely out of our control

(at least in the moment),

compel our behavior.

A simple thought experiment can demonstrate.

Imagine yourself as the offending person:

You are in the exact same body.

You are in the exact same circumstance.

You are surrounded by the exact same people.

You have the exact same background and personal history.

Your mind swirls with the exact same thoughts.

Your body courses with the exact same emotions.

You are filled by the exact same impulses.

What would you do?

Yes, it's true.

You would do the exact same thing

as the person who you are blaming for being so hurtful.

The fact is that behavior is no mystery.

Behavior is a mathematical summation

of the forces acting upon us in any given moment.