How To Forgive

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it can be so hard to forgive because so

often we simply are in the right and the

scale of the folly thoughtlessness and

meanness of others seems utterly beyond

our own measure but there are two

inviolable ideas which should

nevertheless in the face of the grossest

behavior be kept in mind to increase our

chances of being able to forgive firstly

we must remember how the other person

got there to this place of idiocy and

cruelty every irritating Fault in

another person has a long history behind

it they've become like this because of

flaws in their development which they

did not choose for themselves they were

shaped by troubles troubles which we

cannot see but which we know must exist

the arrogant person was trapped at some

key point in their personal evolution in

an environment where being modest and

reasonable seemed to guarantee they'd be

trampled on the hypercritical individual

has lived too much as their personality

was growing around people who couldn't

take a gentle hint so they came to rely

on blunt assertions the frustratingly

timid mousy person was at some stage


the show-off learnt they're irritating

manner around people who were hard to

please behind every failing behind

everything that's wrong and infuriating

about those we meet is a decisive trauma

encountered before someone could cope

with it properly they are maddening but

they got to be this way without meaning

to to forgive is to understand the

origins of evil and cruelty secondly and

very strangely there are difficult

things about you too

of course not in this area not in any

area remotely connected to the sort of

lapses that tend to destroy your faith

in humanity but in some areas quiet

areas that you forget about as soon as

you've travelled through them you too

are a deeply imperfect and questionable

individual gently you have in your own


betrayed nicely you have been a coward

modestly you have forgotten your

privileges unthinkingly you have added

salt to the wounds of others we don't

need to know anything about you to know

this as a certainty we must forgive

because not right now not over this but

one day over something we will need to

be forgiven we would in the past

regularly have looked upwards to the

heavens for this forgiveness we do that

less and less nowadays but that doesn't

attenuate the need for some moments when

we limber up to utter that most

implausible word sorry or indeed stretch

our ethical imagination in order to

pronounce those even more arduous and

unnatural sounding words I forgive you

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