This is a random thing that popped into my head not that long ago amazingly and I felt like sharing it. The main reason it's going in here though is mostly due to the fact it's tied in to some of my issues with various people in this fandom whom I shall "forgive" enough not to shame.
Essentially today's question is : When should you forgive someone?
Let's first off look at the possible situations when you can decide to forgive someone :
- Straight away (I.e. after they did the .... thing they did wrong)
- When they receive punishment
- When they apologise
- When they show that they are doing their best to fix their wrong/show that they'll never to their wrong again
The first should be obvious why this is wrong but let me explain. This sort of behaviour goes under the assumption that people will fix their behaviour as soon as they've done something bad, but is that the case? How exactly is that person supposed to know that what they did was wrong if you're just going to "forgive them" for it while not explaining why exactly it's bad? Even if you know the person well and consider them a good person you shouldn't leave the person without making them understand that what they did was wrong and they shouldn't walk empty handed after it (On that note if you don't call out friends on the bad stuff they do then you're a pretty bad friend).
Next point. The important point here is that punishments are meant to bring balance between the distruption the person at hand as caused, which should make the person understand that if they do x it will result in consequence y. This doesn't mean however that the person fully acknowledges how or why they thing they have done is bad. Think of a child here, let's say they decide to paint your walls, of course you would punish the child but if you fail to explain to them that painting on the walls is bad then what exactly is stopping them from doing it again? All you've done is essentially leave the child confused about why they're being punished. Of course you can tell them that "I'm going to punish you for painting on the walls" but yet again you've failed to distinguish the reason why doing that is wrong. Sure you may get them to stop painting on the walls but now there's nothing stopping them from now banging on the wall with a hard object, since you never explained the idea that it's not their wall and they're essentially damaging other peoples things. Bah that explanation went on for a while but to sum up : forgiving after punishment, be it an adult or child, isn't good for similar reasons as above; you have no way of knowing if they truely understand that what they did was bad.
Apologies, many people forgive here but are you so sure about doing that? If you've caught on about what i've said in the previous statements you may know what to expect here, because guess what? It's the same, although it may be trickier to understand why. Although if you don't understand why this may be an issue then I can somewhat safely assume that you've never come across someone in your life who constantly does bad things and brushes them off with apologies. New example; let's imagine you have a friend who drives while you can't, and have to rely on them to drive you to work every thursday. One thursday that friend forgets to pick you up so you can go to work, you forgive them as it's easy to forget things right? And it was only that once.....you say as 2 weeks ahead of time they do it again. They say they're really sorry and make up for it somehow but then you notice that pattern of the exact same thing over and over. Can you really call that friend reliable for allowing that "mistake" to happen so many times? They may of acknowledged that they did something wrong and have apologised for it but does it really look like they're doing anything to stop that from happening again? Well that brings me on to the next point.
Ideally, in my opinion, forgiveness should only be granted to those who have shown that they not only understand what they did was wrong but also show that they should be forgiven by....well not only not doing it again but more importantly acknowledge the fact that they did do something wrong and show how they're not going to do it again. Do not mistake this is as "I do not trust them until they do x" because that's not the point of forgiveness, or lack of. Your decision to still hang out and talk to people or heck still call them friends does not equate to "You forgive this one thing that they have done". Heck as noted it's not exactly good practice to forgive someone just because they're a good friend, because not only are you giving your friend a "free pass" to do it to someone else then you're showing that you yourself are un-trustworthy because you can't stop your friend from doing something that could potentially harm them and others around them. So it's important to realise that forgiveness should only be given when the person shows that they can be forgiven and it's not worth your time forgiving those that have shown that they can't be trusted not to do bad things again, or try to hide the fact that they did wrong in the first place.
To sum up don't easily forgive people, apologies and punishments can only take a person so far and having them acknowledge their wrong doings and showing they won't do it again shows that they do want to improve as a person, and are the only sort of people worth forgiving.