The only time you should forgive someone is if they deserve forgiveness. Most of you hear something entirely different in church, and I categorically disagree with that point of view. I know it’s tied in to very serious and profound biblical beliefs about God/Jesus forgiving you for your sins. However, forgiveness is not to be thrown around like confetti.
You should only forgive someone who has earned forgiveness. That means they have done the 4 R’s:
Take RESPONSIBILITY. That means acknowledging what they’ve done. They’re not coming up with excuses or blaming anybody else. They’re saying, “I did this, and it was wrong.”
Show true REMORSE. Saying you’re sorry because you got caught is not true remorse.
Try to REPAIR the damage they’ve caused. Some things are irreparable, like spreading rumors about someone. However, they can still put forth the effort to make things right.
Do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t REPEAT it.
If and only if the 4 R’s have been met can someone earn your forgiveness. Anything short of that shows disrespect to the victim and to the principles and values that were breached when the person did the bad deed. I believe in accountability, and I believe in justice. I don’t think you can pass on either of those an expect a civilized society. Letting go of being angry is letting go, it’s not forgiveness. Forgiveness is earned.