A manifestation of grace
Oxford University Press, 2012
Type of paper: Theoretical/Conceptual/Review
Open Access: No
What is forgiveness? When is it appropriate? How is it facilitated or inhibited? Answering these questions on one way rather than another has the potential to alter our lives and our relationships in rather dramatic ways. If we think that forgiveness is or involves a passion that we experience but over which we have little control, then we will respond to it differently than if we think forgiving is something we choose to do or refrain from doing. If we think forgiveness involves restoring a relationship, then we will treat it differently than if we think it merely a matter of managing our emotions. If we think forgiveness is something that must be earned or deserved then we will not even consider forgiving certain agents; whereas if we think it is something that can be freely given, then forgiving these agents may become a live option. This book explores the nature and norms of forgiveness, drawing attention to important dimensions that have been neglected by other discussions of the topic. It highlights the significance of character, both of the forgiver and of the forgiven, for common perspectives on what forgiveness is and when it is appropriate. It explores the relationship between forgiving, understanding, and loving. And it revives a virtue that has too long been neglected, namely, grace.