This month’s Socrates Café question:

“Can a person really forgive?”

A penny for your thoughts.

12 Responses to “January ’09 Socrates Café”
  1. Randy Zeitman says:

    (Well apparently so…people sure do it.)

  2. Bevan says:

    awww sorry i thought it was the 26th…adam should start comin to these too…to answer your question…”can someone forgive?”….
    it depends on the person…like if someone say….left rubber cement out accidentally…that is something you just let go of…just…let….go…

  3. RB says:

    Someone once told me, “Now that you’re here, it’s time to give up all hope of a better past.”

    Easier said than done in my experience. Recently I’ve had the good luck to learn that my resentments will kill me. Since I don’t want to die, it’s fairly important that I attempt forgiveness–or at least acceptance.

    How do I forgive myself for years wasted? Relationships lost? Daily suicide?

    Life is but a day’s work, do it well.

  4. Jamie says:

    life is taking all your experiences before the moment to deal with the current moment. That said, sometimes you just have to deal with the information you are being given at that exact moment. I had a chance to start over with a girl who tormented me in elementary school when we started high school. I had great joy in snubbing her. In retrospect, she was starting in a new school with all new people, and maybe she just needed something familiar. My mom chastised me pretty badly for the event and so now I try to take people as they come to me and try not to bring past experiences or assumptions with me to the meeting.
    I think we can forgive. I think it takes a conscious effort and there are probably many things that linger there for a long long time, so the actual forgiveness may not come for a long time (at least based on the dictionary definition). But to choose to forgive means you can focus on the good, on letting go and starting anew. I also know in my experience that I have told people they were forgiven when I was still angry or upset, but as I said above, I am letting them know that I am choosing forgiveness and will try to forget the hurt etc. and focus on the new, whatever that may be.

  5. Matt B. says:

    For adults: “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy

    For your Children: Forgiveness is part of being a parent as children spend lifetimes making mistakes –un/purposely – that bring heartache. For the parent, love transcends pain.

  6. Arlene C says:

    yes, it is possible to really forgive. Time heals most wounds and experience and maturity help people to see things from different points of view which always helps in the forgiving process. Lastly, someone above mentioned “acceptance” which is key if we ever hope to reach the goal of forgiving someone. My 2 cents for what it’s worth!
    Hi Randy!

  7. Eric says:

    I forget.

  8. Tim says:

    Forgiveness has more to do with the forgiver than the forgiven. Righteous anger is a sweet high (it is the fodder for lots of conversation). When someone says they are sorry it is really tempting, even if you forgive them, to hang onto some of that anger, just in case you need it later… I think forgiveness is something that most people do not do well. It is actually really really hard. Most of really mean, I will not be as angry as I am now, but if this happens again, then all bets are off, baby!

    And can you forgive someone who is not sorry? Is there a difference? What is the cost of trying to forgive an unrepentant president? Or do we want to hang onto that anger?

  9. Kristina says:

    Jamie mentioned choosing to forgive. The idea of choosing is most relevant to the discussion. Very few people are crossed by another, then find that their anger or hurt just goes away, “POOF”, without any emotional effort or decision making. People have to choose to think hard and long about the situation that occurred, who it occurred with, why it happened (intentionally/mistakenly/stupidity), how it might effect their lives in the future, the seriousness of those effects. Tim brings up another point: is the culprit sorry, or unapologetic? With such a wide array of factors that could play off one other, I think it is almost impossible to say whether a person can always “really” forgive, or not; it must be looked at on a case by case basis. I’d like to think that we can all make that decision to try to forgive, and then do the mental work necessary to make it happen. Beware: while forgiveness can occur, resentments sure can get their barbs in and hold tight . Thankfully, they fade over time.

    You know, sometimes you don’t really forgive a person their misdeeds, but you find it easier to pretend like nothing happened. While putting on your smiley face you are seething inside. Even in these situations, you are consciously making the choice to let the hurt and the pain play patty-cake in your brain while, hopefully, subsiding over time. What you end up with in the end may not be forgiveness but it probably looks pretty darned close to it.

    Peoples’ capacity for forgiveness is actually a wondrous thing. I have pulled some really unpleasant pranks on various people over the years, and (as far as I know!) every one of them has forgiven me. Forgiveness can help people learn from their indiscretions and become better people, better friends, better family members, better spouses.

    Forgetting everything I’ve just written, I do not think I can forgive an unrepentant president – ever!!!

  10. Brian says:

    Yes, it is possible to forgive, but whether you do forgive or not is entirely situational. I can unconditionally forgive my wife for crashing my car, but I couldn’t forgive someone who murdered my mother, for instance.

  11. Jimmy Smith says:

    The colors of your blog really go well with each other, did you design it Yourself?

  12. Todd Marrone says:

    Indeed, I went to college on a color-matching scholarship.