When Forgiveness Comes Easy
Forgiving is often hard; but it doesn’t need to be. Sometimes it is easy. In such cases, we may naturally have overcome resentment directed at the wrongdoer despite our sustained judgement that the wrongdoer is morally responsible for the harm she inflicted on us. Maybe our resentment has simply faded over time as it often does. When the offender then signals a change of heart and issues a sincere apology for the wrong she committed, we may find it quite easy to forgive. Current approaches to forgiveness, I will argue in this paper, cannot explain such cases of easy forgiveness. This is because, according to philosophical orthodoxy, forgiveness must involve a causal process leading from the recognition of a suitable reason (e.g. a sincere apology) to the forswearing of resentment (or some other suitable attitude). Call this the Process View. When our resentment had already faded before the apology was issued then undergoing this causal process is simply impossible.