Wilfred M. McClay exclaims that forgiveness implies a moral world. There’s too much sloppy back-slapping (self back-slapping at times) about forgiveness.
What say you?
Forgiveness can’t be understood apart from the assumption that we inhabit a universe in which moral responsibility matters, moral choices have real consequences, and justice and guilt have a salient role.
Forgiveness in its deepest sense is something different from “letting go of anger” so that we can individually experience wholeness and healing. It involves an extraordinary suspension of the normal workings of justice: of the normal penalties for crimes, and the normal costs for moral failings. By definition, it is something that can be done only rarely without undermining the basis on which it rests and without creating an entirely different set of moral expectations. The famous admonition from Tuesdays with Morrie that we should “Forgive everybody everything” is perhaps appealing as a psychological instruction, but it is appalling as a general dictum. It resembles the child’s dream that every day should be Christmas.