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« John Dunn on Locke on Toleration | Main | John Broome on Weighing Lives »

June 22, 2008



I love these podcasts.

I don't understand your point about Christian forgiveness being based on a change in behavior. Could you clarify it? Christian forgiveness does not hinge on change in behavior. Yes, repentance is required of the Christian in their relationship with God, but the Christian is required to strive to forgive all regardless of promise of change of behavior, whether they ask it or not. The book of Luke says Jesus forgave those crucifying him even though they were going to go on and do it without repentance.

I recall reading a book some years ago about spiritual gifts. The author asked the reader to do the following reflection: Imagine a common, habitual behavior that you personally find to be particularly grievous. Now imagine you are in some sort of relationship with someone who is not going to stop doing that thing. Their is no way you are going to persuade them from it. What, then, does your relationship look like? What is your Christian witness to them?

Anyway, this Christian (perhaps unattainable) ideal of forgiveness of everyone is so foundational, that the discussion about it in the podcast just doesn't make sense to me. I am hoping you could clarify. I am putting this request in an email as well as the comments in case someone else wants a shot. thanks

anthony horton

Random thoughts about forgiveness:

Forgiveness in our current culture is as Derrida suggested, impossible, as the above individual noted, requires a condition that somehow became woven into the tapestry of what forgiveness originally was desinged to accomplish.

The required change of heart for forgiveness to be successfully in effect is not that of the offender, but that which is in the heart of the offended.
There is perhaps no better example of human free will than that which is seen demonstrated when one is deeply offended, and then realizes the need to forgive, or continue to be burdened by the offense.
Old English Etymology of the word suggests that to forgive, one must "completely give", which begs to ask, "completely give of what?"
The true Christ ideal of forgiveness deals with that from which the offender must give, which is the fulness of the heart, soul and mind, for in Loving God with all of these elements of our composition, then we are "loving God, by keeping his commandments".. namely, to love one another, as we love ourselves.

Easy to say...extremely challenging to apply, but then, without such a challenge, personal growth towards Christ would not be possible.

Jeffrey Wallace Leggett

Brilliant interview that fell into my focus for the first time today. Forgiveness first and foremost, in my opinion, concerns my part in the 'forgivable act' and my attachment to the gesture of the 'other(s)' who caused the unpleasant act to become. If you take something that belongs to me I firstly want to understand my part in that. If I can detach myself from what was taken, let it go from my 'need to hold onto' then with a clear heart and mindful intention I can let the other go as well. This does not excuse justice but is the other person feeling guilt or shame? Guilt means they were found out where as shame, again to me, means they see their mistaken understanding of what is right or wrong and then they will perhaps forgive what ever brought them to that act. I think, generally at the very least, to forgive is to let go and move on with a lighter burden and not get stuck in the offending act and therefore become stuck in 'time' (that one page of our story) and fall behind while the rest of the universe continues to unfold. We forgive so we can live.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share,
Jeffrey Wallace Leggett

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