Forgiveness is the nullification and voidance of a wrong by the one who is wronged (the wrongee). The perpetuator of the wrong is the wronger. Forgiveness consist of three primary states:


Where S1 = Pre-wronged state; S2 = Wronged state; S3 = Forgiveness state. The transition from S2 to S3 is directly dependent on the wronger's repentance and the wrongee's acceptance of the repentance. This dependence can be summarized by the following linear equation:

f = ar + c--------------(1)

In equation (1), f represents a forgiveness state for a given degree of repentance r, and acceptance a, of the repentance. The slope of the graph of equation (1) is represented by a . A forgiveness state without repentance is represented by c, the f intercept of the graph of f vs r (figure 1).

The interpretation of equation (1) is based on the slope of its graph, that is, the acceptance of a given repentance. Consider figure 1. It consists of graphs of equation (1) for four different values of the slope, a:
a = 0 (line KN), a = 1(line OD), a > 1 (line OB) and a < 1(line OM). The case of a = 0 represents the situation whereby there is no wronger's repentance, yet there is some degree of forgiveness by the wrongee, that is represented by the value c in fig. 1. Usually, in this situation, the wrongee's need to offload the emotional burden of the wrong supercedes his or her desire for the wronger's repentance. In the case of a =1 the wrongee's acceptance to rejection ratio with respect to the wronger's repentance is 1:1. When a > 1, the wrongee is more likely to accept the wronger's repentance than reject it. When a < 1, the wrongee is more likely to reject the wronger's repentance than accept it.

Essentially, a wrongee's acceptance of a wronger's repentance is the key determinant of whether or not total forgiveness is realized. The severity of a wrong and the nature of the wrongee influence the wrongee's willingness to accept the wronger's true repentance. Forgiveness without true repentance is shallow and often transient.

Peter Oye Sagay

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