Can Forgiveness and Justice Mix?

3 May

Whether it’s the death of Osama Bin Laden or a more personal matter, there will always be differing opinions.  Some people embrace forgiveness.  Some people push for justice.  I’m an advocate for both.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr

Forgiveness is not:

  • Forgetting
  • Deciding it doesn’t matter
  • Agreeing to no consequences
  • Absolving someone of all guilt

Forgiveness is:

  • Letting go of bitterness
  • Extending undeserved mercy
  • Letting go of the need for revenge

Forgiveness is about you.  Justice is about some actions requiring consequences. You may forgive the person who stole from your company. But you still need to fire them.  You may forgive your child for hitting his brother. But he still needs to be disciplined. In order to live a full and mentally healthy life, you may need to forgive a murderer on Death Row.  They will still be on death row. You may need to forgive a debt owed to you.  That does not mean you need to lend  money again.  You may need to forgive a friend for gossiping about you. That does not mean you need to take them back into your confidence.

There can be forgiveness without a need for justice.
There can be forgiveness and justice both.
But I have never encountered a situation where there was justice but no need for forgiveness.

Be brave. Forgiveness is for the strong.


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