Give Us Forgiveness. . .
Here's what they said:
"Forgiveness is hard work. Revenge comes real easy. Forgiveness involves a loss of face. You're saying 'I'm going to forgo one good way to win back my pride.' But the funny thing is you end up regaining your well being. Studies show that forgiveness increases self-esteem and lowers depression."
--Michael McCullough, psychologist who's written a book on how to forgive.
Revenge Can Heal, Too
"Here's what I tell people. I say forgive and forget, let it go. But if you're losing sleep and having bad dreams over it, you're ruminating about it, you have to get closure. And the best way to get closure is to get even."
--Philip Seldon, writer who teaches a class on exacting revenge legally.
"What I don't much like is the kind of uncritical sentimental celebration of forgiveness that's very common these days. There's a lot of psychological literature out there that tells us how important it is to forgive ourselves, to forgive others, to overcome all of those negative feelings. Sometimes that's good advice, but sometimes people cope by not forgiving. They just want to keep hating these bastards who treated them so badly. It's too simplistic to say that in all cases you ought to forgive."
--Jeff Murphy, philosopher and professor who has written on forgiveness, revenge, and mercy.
Getting Even Doesn't Work
"People do find some short term face-saving when they get revenge. But the problem is that that sense is very short-lived. It doesn't have any sort of positive self-esteem boosting effect. It doesn't solve the damage in any long-term way."
Going Too Far
"One girl I taught took her ex-lover's computer, put it in a pile with all the hard disks and floppies, and set them on fire. She could have gotten jail for that. That's arson. That's very serious. I would have recommended going into the computer and renaming files. Not destroying the files, just renaming them, change the directories."
Vengefulness On The Rise?
"Is the world getting more vengeful? I think probably it is. We don't teach the classical sources of human strength: humility, forgiveness, gratitude as ways of coping with injustice. We're giving two messages to kids. First, that self-esteem is really important and you need to develop it. Second, that self-control is not really necessary. It's optional. When you get that combination, kids end up always looking for small violations to their self-esteem, and don't really focus on controlling impulses."
"We have to allow for the fact that people have a dark side. We cannot give people too much credit for being perfect. We are all going to get damaged. It's inevitable."
What Would Jesus Say? || The Angry Shopper
An Old Friend Lends A Hand || Give Us Forgiveness?
Written by David Kohn
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