Down With Forgiveness

Sometimes it's healthier to hold a grudge: Simon Doonan

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 4, 2013 1:44 PM CDT | Updated Apr 4, 2013 1:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – You hear a lot about the healing power of forgiveness these days, but the movement has gone too far, writes Simon Doonan in Slate. Reeva Steenkamp's uncle wants to forgive Oscar Pistorius for killing her. The mother of the girl who was raped in Steubenville, Ohio, forgave one of the rapists. "The basic idea seems to be that the only way to come to terms with the murder or rape of a loved one is to forgive the perp," Doonan writes. "Regardless of how horrid your experience, you owe it to yourself to forgive so that you can bypass all that pain and anger and resume your life of nonstop chuckles, shoe shopping, and umbrella drinks."

But is forgiveness always the best path? Take the case of the Steubenville rapist: A better move would have been for the mother to offer "a little helpful advice, for example: 'Young man, terrible acts have terrible consequences. You must take your punishment like a man, and then, when you have paid your debt to society, you will be given a chance to rebuild your life. Don’t fuck it up.'" It's time for us to acknowledge that some things are, simply, unforgivable ("the Holocaust, murder, rape, animal cruelty"). Our lives are all we've got, and "if taking them away is forgivable, then we are left vulnerable." Click for Doonan's full column.

  (Shutterstock)
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