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Sandy Knauer

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Tepid Judgment
2/28/2006 10:46:07 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

In recent weeks, several people questioned my forgiveness of others. Without discussion, they delivered flat, critical verdicts on my positions, slighting my values, emotions, judgments, and relationships. I thought they were wrong to question my kindness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I condone wrongs, want to resume relationships, or waive legal or ethical responsibilities.

After tripping through confusion and pushing aside the superior attitude I had adopted in response to disapproval, I settled down to question my motives. I forgive to relieve my anger and resentment. I dump negative emotions so I can reclaim the energy given to others.

I forgive for me. Maybe my criticizers had valid points. If I abandon rational outrage with the same impulsive nature that lets me procrastinate laundry and dishes, do I end up with a hamper or sink of disgusting relationships?

That seemed logical until I remembered the people I can’t forgive. They prove I don’t forgive with reckless abandon, so what makes me different? And, does being different make me careless or wrong? How and when do I drop resentments others hold, and why don’t I extend forgiveness to everyone?

I forgave the man who nearly choked me to death, but not the man who kicked my daughter. I hold no hard feelings toward the friend who forgot me when I got sick and no positive feelings for the one who insulted every welfare recipient in this country. I wish the best for the woman who devoted years of her life to complicating mine, the co-worker who claimed my work as his own, and the kid who took money from my purse, but I hope the attorney who stole money from my daughter buys himself a case of bleeding ulcers with that money.

I forgive Ted Kennedy’s forty-year-old scandal, Bill Clinton’s personal indiscretions, and Al Gore’s hidden personality. I refuse to excuse George Bush’s dishonesty, Dick Cheney’s corruption, Tom Delay’s fraud, Scott McClellan’s dodging, or Christianity’s duplicity.

Instead of writing myself off as hopelessly fickle, I searched for explanations. Some of the people I forgave never uttered a sorry, an oops, or a my bad. They did not pull me into mediation, send flowers, offer excuses, or try to prove anything to me. Some don’t know I exist or how they hurt me, and don’t need my forgiveness. The difference with them is that either they didn’t know what they were doing, what they did was a one-time infraction, or they later made impressive changes in their lives, demonstrating an appropriate sorrow for their actions – much better than an uttered sorry. Those I haven’t forgiven have dedicated their lives to hurting others and don’t deserve forgiveness.

In conclusion, I believe my forgiveness is rational. Those who criticized me without question made tepid judgments of me for not doing the same.


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More Blogs by Sandy Knauer
• No Resolutions Here - Friday, January 04, 2008
• Link to flagged article - Thursday, March 15, 2007
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• And Not So Great First Dates - Sunday, June 25, 2006
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• Happy Father's Day For Me - Saturday, June 17, 2006
• We Don't Share Crayons - Friday, June 16, 2006
• Roly-poly Slobber - Monday, June 12, 2006
• John Wayne and Elvis Were Full of Shit and You Probably Are Too - Monday, June 05, 2006
• Ignorance Is Bliss - Monday, May 29, 2006
• Let It Be - Thursday, April 27, 2006
• Can We Leave Justice to the Luck of the Draw? - Friday, April 14, 2006
• Gospel of Judas - Thursday, April 06, 2006
• Healthcare Costs – How We Turn Molehills into Mountains - Tuesday, March 28, 2006
• Feather Light - Monday, March 20, 2006
• Dissecting Charity - Saturday, March 11, 2006
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• Behind the Headlines - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• Define Education - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• My American Idol Pick - Wednesday, March 01, 2006
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• Purpose - Thursday, February 23, 2006
• HUH? - Tuesday, February 21, 2006
• Coddled Insanity - Sunday, February 19, 2006
• Ooops, My Bad - Thursday, February 16, 2006
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Reflection by Donna Lagone

Why did Rosie on her death bed asked me to promise to always keep her silver mirror in the family. What silver mirror and why?..  
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