While we are all familiar with the word “forgiveness,” it is inadequate in describing a very complex concept. In fact, forgiveness implies three different things, each of which applies to distinct situations and produces diverse results. The three sub–types of forgiveness are:
1.Exoneration – this is what we generally have in mind when we think of the word forgiveness. Exoneration essentially means
that the slate is completely wiped clean, and the relationship is fully restored to its previous sense of innocence. Exoneration
means to “forgive and forget,” as the old saying goes. When you exonerate someone, it’s as if the harmful action never took place at all.
2.Forbearance – This second level of forgiveness applies when an offender either makes a partial apology or lessens their apology by suggesting that you are also partially to blame for their wrongdoing. They may even explicitly state that you did something to cause them to behave badly. While an apology may in fact be offered here, it’s usually not what was hoped for and may feel inauthentic (the often heard, “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “If I did anything to upset, I’m sorry,” come to mind). Forbearance comes into play when the relationship at hand is one that matters to you. If the person is important in your life, you should exercise forbearance even if you bear no responsibility for what happened. Forbearance means that you should stop dwelling on the offense, release any grudges you hold, and banish all revenge fantasies. However, unlike exoneration, the slate is not wiped completely clean with forbearance. Instead, it’s recommended that the person offering
forbearance maintain a degree of watchfulness over the other person. This is like “forgive but don’t forget” or “trust but verify.” With forbearance, you’re able to continue relationships with people who are important to you but who may not be fully trustworthy, at least at the present time
3.Release – Release is the lowest level of forgiveness and applies to situations in which the person who hurt you has never acknowledged any wrongdoing. He or she has either never apologized or has offered an incomplete or insincere apology. Apology or not, no reparations have been given and the perpetrator has done little or nothing to improve the relationship.
– Written by Kumar Bandyo (Our Test Committee on June 18th, Saturday 🙂