Part One of Three
I am contemplating various facets of forgiveness and several different views on this topic; this post is the first of a short series.
Why do we often feel that we need to forgive someone, or that we wish and hope someone will forgive us? Usually we take forgiveness to mean to excuse for a fault or an offense; to pardon and also to renounce anger or resentment against someone.
The origin of this word dates back to before the year 900: (Old English forgiefan: for = “completely” + giefan = “give“) the meaning was basically “to give up desire or power to punish” and also “grant”; “allow”. From this I sense the emotional content of forgiveness: a generosity, an opening of the clenched fist, becoming magnanimous. This last term is very clear as it is composed of the two Latin words for “great” and “soul”. We are pointed toward our capacity to be “great-souled”, or, as we might say: noble-minded.