forgiveness, paradox of

If only people who deserve to be forgiven ought to be forgiven, then forgiveness is either unjustified, in the case of the undeserving, or pointless, since in the case of those who deserve forgiveness, there is nothing to forgive. So justified forgiveness for real transgressions is impossible. Yet it is often asked for, and given, and in some ethical systems it may even be required of us that we forgive transgressors.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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