Forgive before it is asked? Are you not encouraging poor boundaries….?

by Rod Smith

“You often mention ‘forgiving’ or ‘forgiveness.’ Is this blanket advice even to follow when the person who has perpetrated the wrong has not apologized or asked for forgiveness. If you forgive someone who has not asked for forgiveness, are you then not letting that person get away with their bad behaviour and thus not putting a boundary in place? Surely the person will repeat the behaviour if they have not requested forgiveness?”

I do encourage people to forgive and sometimes include “even before it is asked of you” and “forgive, but don’t forget.” The act of forgiving is essentially for the person offering the forgiveness, and not one receiving it. When I forgive you for a real or perceived wrong against me, I am doing something good for my inner being. I am acting in a manner that extinguishes the emotional toxicity from within me. That you too are made free is a mere byproduct of mutual benefit.

Wanting another to ask (or beg, or plead) for forgiveness is to be somewhat punitive, which lacks the essence of authentic forgiveness. That I am able to forgive you and not allow myself to be similarly hurt by you in the future is where “forgive but don’t forget” comes into play.

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