Christianity is practically identified with the virtue of forgiveness contrary to the vice of vengeance. This is the reason why in this considered Christian country, to forgive is a common call especially on the occasion of the long Christmas season.
Forgiveness nevertheless is much more complicated than what a good number of people think. In fact, to forgive is the easiest thing to do even if only for the peace of mind of the forgiver. But the biggest question is how does the one forgiven act thereafter.
Forgiveness stands on a tripod: The offense to be forgiven. The person offending. The person offended. While all offenses are forgivable, neither all offenders deserve forgiveness, nor is every offended person competent to really forgive.
There are offenders who do not deserve forgiveness when they continue offending, when they keep denying the offense, when they neither make amends for the offense done. This is the case of someone who lied, deceived and stole yet continues to lie, deceive and steal.
Not every offended person is incompetent to forgive. Forgiveness from an individual person is irrelevant to an offense of national dimension. A national offense calls for no less than a national forgiveness. This is the case of someone who committed an offense affecting the whole country together with the future of the citizenry.
The liar must tell the truth. The deceiver must reveal the fact. The thief must do restitution. Otherwise, forgiveness is neither relevant nor applicable. This is the case of someone commonly perceived as having done all these misdeeds that offended no less than a whole nation.
Under these circumstances, what the offender needs is repentance and conversion, more than forgiveness. In fact, a repentant and converted offender becomes an asset to society, a promise of hope for the citizens.
Otherwise, the offender continues to be a social liability and a sign of social hopelessness.
30 December 2005