Skip to main content

Quotes: Forgiveness as transforming the past and heading into the future

"No life is beyond repair, and no damage so great as to not be forgiven. This in no way was to belittle your tortuous past, but merely to excuse you from constantly reliving it."
Ralph Minogue. Responsibility To, Responsibility For. Baltimore: AmErica House, 2000. p 224.

"Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past."
Lily Tomlin, quoted in Atlanta's Creative Loafing, quoted in "Wit and Wisdom" in The Week, Feb. 18, 2011, p. 21.

"[Forgiveness] can never mean as you're t' have your old feelings back again, for that's not possible. He's not the same man to me, and I can't feel the same towards him."
Adam Bede, quoted by George Eliot (Adam Bede, 1859, Chapter 29), quoted by William Ian Miller. Faking It. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. p 92.

"'Motion of the heart' is the right phrase. Forgiveness permits all parties to lay the past at last to rest and to proceed with a new beginning, uncontaminated by the infections of past wrongs, by thoughts of grievance and revenge. The great achievement of forgiveness is not so much that it absolves the one forgiven as that it cleanses the one who forgives."
Lance Morrow. Evil: An Investigation. New York: Basic Books, 2003. p 261.

"Skepticism about apologies is well understood. After all, apologies serve as indicators of moral codes, illuminating what is considered "right" and "wrong" in social behavior and interactions. * * * In this book, I argue that apologies are desired, offered, and given in order to change the terms and meanings of membership in a political community. * * * Grievances are connected to violated expectations of just treatment and respect, if not full inclusion. Yet grievances may be addressed without an apology as such. They may well simmer and even fuel group demands, but this does not mean that groups will ask for an apology. Instead, groups may demand simply that governments attend to their concerns without mention of apology. Governments may pass laws and implement policies but never apologize. What is it, then, that makes apologies desirable? Apologies, I argue, help to bring history into the conversation, providing justification for political and policy changes and reforms. Central to the addressing of contemporary grievances is the focus on the historical injustices that created the grievances. Apologies focus on a neglected past and demand that moral reflection be bought to bear and that some attempt at remedy be undertaken."
Melissa Nobles. The Politics of Official Apologies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. pp. x-xi.

"Take care of yourself," he said, shaking my hand.
"Do something good." I jingled my keys, and we paused in a friendlier freeze. This kind of time could be organic, too, I realized. Time wasn't created in equal portions; memory elongated certain moments and forgot others. My mind wanted to remember this, and his probably did, too.
"Bye, Roy," I said, finally breaking the spell.
"Hey," he called after me, "write me someday, okay?"
Never, I thought.
"Maybe I will," I said.
He grinned at that, and gave a jolly wave. I watched him recede into the fog, thinking that allowing him this moment was, in all the ways that matter, a kind of forgiveness.
Thomas Page McBee, Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man. (2017)

"Even if you can't undo the past, you can improve the future. Forgiveness lies not in fixing what can't be fixed but in the concept Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called pikuah neshamah: saving a spirit — your own or that of others. It can translate into tikkun olam: repairing the world."
Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, rabbinic director of the National Center for Jewish Healing, quoted by Rahel Musleah, "The Dance of Forgiveness," Jewish Woman, Fall 2002. p 33.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Castration at the Battle of Adwa (1896)

On March 1, 1896, the Battle of Adwa "cast doubt upon an unshakable certainty of the age – that sooner or later Africans would fall under the rule of Europeans." In this battle, Ethiopians beat back the invading Italians and forced them to retreat permanently. It was not until 1922 that Benito Mussolini would again initiate designs against Ethiopia; despite Ethiopia's defeat in 1936, the nation ultimately retained its independence. "Adwa opened a breach that would lead, in the aftermath of world war fifty years later, to the rollback of European rule in Africa. It was," Raymond Jonas wrote, "an event that determined the color of Africa." (p. 1) It was also significant because it upheld the power of Ethiopia's Christian monarchy that controlled an ethnically diverse nation (p. 333), a nation in which, in the late 19th century, the Christian Emperor Yohannes had tried to force Muslims to convert to Christianity. (p. 36) The Victorian English spelli

Review of Cliff Sims' 'Team of Vipers' (2019)

After he resigned his position, Cliff Sims spent two months in Fall 2018 writing Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House . Many stories are told, some already well known to the public, some not. One buys this book, most likely, to gape at the colossal flameout spectacle that is Donald Trump, as with most things with Trump's name. Sims exposes the thoughtlessness, the chaos, the lack of empathy among his fellow insiders in the campaign and later in the White House, but he does not at all acknowledge the real consequences for ordinary Americans — there might as well be no world outside the Trump insider bubble, for all this narrative concerns itself with — and therefore falls far short of fully grappling with the ethical implications of his complicity. Previously, Sims was a journalist. "I had written tough stories, including some that helped take down a once-popular Republican governor in my home state," he says. "I had done my best to be

The ‘prostitute with a gun’ was a middle-class high school girl

On May 19, 1992, Amy Fisher, a 17-year-old high school student in Long Island, N.Y., rang the bell at the home of 37-year-old Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Buttafuoco stepped onto her front porch and had a brief conversation with the girl, whom she had never met before. Fisher then shot her in the face and fled the scene. Neighbors heard the shot and rushed to Buttafuoco's aid. She regained consciousness the next day in a hospital and was able to recall the conversation with her attacker. This information helped police to promptly identify and arrest Fisher. Fisher's explanation of her action shocked the nation. She claimed that she had been lovers with her victim's husband, Joey Buttafuoco, 36, since the previous summer when she was still only 16. While those who knew Buttafuoco believed him to be a pillar of the community, Fisher said he perpetrated auto theft scams. She claimed he introduced her to a life of prostitution, such that she wore a beeper to her high school classes an