Sunday 12 August 2018

Nerd Church - How Do We Decide When To Forgive?

Whether you're director James Gunn, YouTuber Jeffree Star, politician Boris Johnson, or the Archdruid of the Gorsedd*, you've made mistakes in your past (or present.)

Lord knows I've made plenty of mistakes in my life. And I'm guessing you have too, dearest nerdlets.

We're human, after all.

*What, you guys don't have an Archdruid?!?! Welp, Welsh people do. 😅

'Forgiveness' written in sand

But how do we decide when someone is worthy of our forgiveness?

How do we decide who is forgiven and who isn't? Do we have double-standards?

Before we go on, yes, this is definitely going to be one of those posts where I ask more questions than I give answers.

Because honestly? I don't have a lot of the answers to these questions.

Some of them may even be unanswerable, as far as I know.

Humans being the messy, wonderful, terrible, creatures that we are, things are rarely as simple as we'd like them to be.

And the very private decision to forgive or not to forgive a public figure is something that's being pulled into the public eye more and more, imho - probably because of the publicness of said public figure.

And it is personal, isn't it? The decision to forgive someone?

It's easier for me to forgive people who've not harmed me or my friends and family than it is to forgive those whose words affect me directly.

That's not a malicious thing - that's just the self-interest of human beings. We all do it to some extent, no matter how much we may struggle to try and be fair and just with our assessments.

But there are other factors, aren't there?

Like, what was their intent when they said/did the thing?

How much time has elapsed? Does it matter how much time has elapsed, or is it so bad that distance doesn't make a difference?

Have they apologised? How sincere was the apology? Have they acted differently since? Have they repeated the same mistakes?

Did they refuse to apologise? Did they claim there was nothing wrong with what they said/did? Did they get defensive instead of listening to the people they'd hurt?

But if someone ticks all of those boxes, do you have to forgive them?

If you don't have to, then should you? Are you being petty if you don't? Or does it just reflect the hurt you've gone through?

I feel like we all want to do the 'right' thing - but don't necessarily know what that is.

Because there is no 'right' that's right for everyone - everyone is coming from a different place, and is in different circumstances.

Every situation has its own set of challenges, nuances, context, and individuals.

So there doesn't seem to be a universal set of rules for forgiveness.

Unfortunately, I guess we all just have to find our own way through each individual situation, and hopefully be as understanding as we can to each other along the way.

That means listening to those who have been hurt, as well as those doing the hurting. It means thinking things through.

It means being open and/or willing to change our minds according to new information.

It means muddling our way through, the best we can, and knowing that just trying to do that makes us all awesome. Love ya, dearest nerdlets. 💖

What do you think? Is forgiveness individual or can it be standardised? When should we forgive someone? Talk to me! 😊💬

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Last updated: 3rd July 2020


  1. My view on forgiveness is that it is something you do to free yourself.
    Unforgiveness is like a cage where you hold your grudge, anger, and sadness. Forgiving doesn't mean that you excuse the behavior, but it means that you let go.
    In some cases it means that you forgive, but can't allow someone into your life anymore. For example because they keep repeating the same behavior.
    I think we need to start forgiving ourselves more too. We do all make mistakes, and that is ok. We learn from those.
    Rose -

    1. Very well put. I think sometimes it's difficult to forgive because of the amount of hurt caused, but I agree that often it's healthier to forgive than to let things continue to hurt you.

  2. I think we should forgive everyone. If you hold on to that hurt it will take a toll on you. Yes you forgive everyone but that does not mean you let them back into your life. If they did something untrustworthy then do not let them back in completely. But if you had a misunderstanding then forgive and move on and fix the bond. Forgiveness is growth.

    1. Sometimes it can be difficult to do so, depending on what actually happened. And sometimes, of course, people need time to fully come to terms with what happened. Very well put though! :)

  3. I think I judge whether or not I should forgive someone by their apology. If it is sincere, and they have owned up to their mistake, there is no reason why we shouldn’t forgive them. An example would be Jeffree Star. He has said time and time again how ashamed he is of his past actions, and I honestly have a lot more respect for him now.

    1. I didn't really know much about Jeffree Star before Shane Dawson's series on him, but now, I think he's honestly regretful of what he said in the past, and I think it was a symptom of the hurt he carried inside, rather than actual malice. That said, what he said was unacceptable, and as someone who was not the target of his comments, I think that Black people are totally valid in deciding not to forgive him, if that's their decision. I'm not about to lecture people on offences against them!

      Generally though, I have to say I really admire Jeffree Star, not just for owning up to what he said and apologising, but for working his way up to where he is by being who he is and refusing to hide it, and making it through all the stuff in his life.

    2. That’s true, I guess his comments didn’t really affect me that much because I was not the target of them, and thus I found it easy to forgive. I do also have to give him major props for how far he’s come though. He’s a really smart businessman and has convinced me to support his business over some other large companies that I don’t think are as transparent.

    3. He's business inspo. for sure! XD

  4. Life is to short not to forgive. I try to forgive people as much as possible and move on.

    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club

  5. This is such an interesting topic. I agree with you that the decision to forgive someone or not is a very personal thing. For me, the length of time since it happened isn't a really factor, but more the personal growth of the person i.e were they young and made a foolish mistake which they would now have the wisdom to avoid? Intention definitely matters to me. I can forgive accidents and momentary lapses of judgement much easier than something that was planned and calculated. If they apologise, that makes a big difference to. Usually, in order to forgive someone I must be convinced that they are genuinely sorry and take responsibility for their actions. But an apology doesn't guarantee forgiveness-sometimes it's just impossible to move past a person's hurtful actions no matter how sorry they are.

    1. I think personal growth/what they were going through at the time (e.g. struggling with addiction or mental health problems and lashing out,) is v. important to keep in mind.

      I agree though that sometimes, if you're hurt that badly, you just can't seem to bring yourself to forgive the person.

  6. Tbh, I don't like the idea that you HAVE to forgive everyone no matter what they've done and no matter if they're sorry or not. I don't mind if someone want to live their life that way, but I don't like seeing that pushed on everyone as the one and only way of doing things. I think that if you feel someone doesn't deserve your forgiveness, especially if they're not sorry, trying to force yourself can just make you feel even worse. I think it's possible to move on from things w/o forgiveness. But it's a very personal and situational thing.

    1. I get you - and to be honest, if you feel like you have to forgive someone because it's what you 'should' do, then it probably isn't true forgiveness, y'know?


Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!