The REAL Forgiveness Problem

by Dee Ann Miller (a timeless message written in 2008)

It suddenly dawned on me, just a few minutes ago, as I sat quietly meditating. The hang-up that so many institutions have with forgiveness is simply due to projection. It's the old Biblical parable of the beam in the eye of the guy who is pointing the finger at someone with a speck!

While looking at the "unforgiving victim," those in power--both the colluders and perpetrators--are failing to forgive the whistle-blowers for doing what is ethical, while calling it either falsehood or vindictiveness. Of course, as some of you are saying right now, there is really nothing that victims have done except to speak the truth. Yet the truth is perceived to be an offense in closed systems, which includes most professional organizations.

So the greatest injustice really IS failing to forgive, after all. It's the failure to forgive the "unforgiving survivors," the ones who are most often the falsely accused--whether the charges are lying or being vindictive or lacking compassion.

Perhaps two simple questions should be posed to colluding individuals along with perpetrators:

1) "When are you going to forgive victims for speaking the truth?"

2) "How will your responses change when you do?"

This puts the burden of forgiveness where it belongs--with the real offenders.

Dee Miller, RN

Dee Ann Miller is the author of Enlarging Boston's Spotlight: A Call for Courage, Integrity, and Institutional Transformation (2017) How Little We Knew: Collusion and Confusion with Sexual Misconduct (1993) and The Truth about Malarkey (2000)