The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart, head and hands.
— Robert M. Pirsig
Don’t we all have something that we’ve done in the past and — maybe — feel regret, shame or guilt over? Often, we do harm to others without thinking or without knowing, until later, perhaps. Sometimes, in our youth or ignorance or immaturity we’ve hurt others. Maybe we hurt someone else simply because we believed we were right or justified and that they were wrong and unjustified. Now we can see things differently.
No matter the explanation or the circumstances, haven’t we all done something for which we might ask forgiveness?
But to ask another for forgiveness may feel like taking blame, accepting guilt, admitting that we’re less “perfect” than we’d like to believe we are. Maybe we feel that the other party was partly or equally to blame, and we want them to go first. Perhaps we’re not willing to lose face or maybe we think the other person didn’t notice or has forgotten.
There are plenty of reasons not to ask another for forgiveness.
On the other hand, haven’t we all suffered a slight, an injury, damage or abuse at the hands of another person, a religious or ethnic group, a corporation or a government?
And isn’t it “normal” and easy to continue to blame, condemn and even hate others for their acts (or acts of their kind)? Shouldn’t they do something to convince us that they should be forgiven — atone or something?
So, why talk about forgiveness at all?