FORGIVENESS

prodigalson

Letter published in The Times, April 29th 2015:

Auschwitz-survivor Eva Kor claims she has ‘forgiven’ her death-camp tormentors. Your correspondent, Meira Ben-Gad (April 28th) says that remorse by the offender has to precede any rational act of forgiveness. In fact, the nature of human trauma requires that several stages of grief must be negotiated before it is wise or ever meaningful to offer forgiveness, a fact which religious notions on this subject tend to ignore. If people terrify you to the point of death and then you escape, it is inevitable you will experience feelings of depression, confusion, fierce anger, a burning hatred and the desire for revenge. All these are normal responses and must not be suppressed but expressed. To forgive prematurely (and sometimes at all) may do more emotional damage.

Yours truly,

Phillip Hodson

Fellow, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

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