chapter  4
16 Pages

One-sided forgiveness?

Although it is always possible for wrongdoers to feel and express remorse, and commit themselves to moral change, often they do not do these things. If we presume that repentance by the offender is a condition of forgiveness by the victim, the consequence for forgiveness is a certain incompleteness. The human capacity for inventive forms of denial is enormous; failure to acknowledge wrongdoing is notorious. There are many forms of denial-wrongdoers may insist that they did not do the acts in question at all, that their acts were not wrong, or that, although wrong, they were fully excusable. If offenders never acknowledge their wrongs, finding no reason for remorse, repentance, or a commitment to moral change, does that lack of acknowledgement mean that victims should continue to feel angry, resentful, even vindictive against the offender? What is the morally appropriate attitude for victims under such circumstances?