Professor C. Fred Alford, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park.
Abstract: Forgiveness is not to make us feel better. The problem with forgiveness is that it has become a way for people to feel better about themselves, let go of their hate, and get on with their lives. Forgiveness is frequently given too quickly, because real forgiveness requires that we work through our own pain, suffering, and anger. Forgiveness is misused as therapy, a short cut to recovery. All this has nothing to do with real forgiveness, which is a relationship between two people (sometimes more), in which each asks and each gives, one step at a time. Sometimes people talk as if the only alternatives are forgiveness or hate. In fact, there are lots of alternatives, such as just getting on with one’s life. I will talk about the misuse and proper use of forgiveness.
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