Is an Apology Necessary for Forgiveness?


In this nine-minute video from our Consider Forgiveness series, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders and scholars from around the world explore whether an apology is required in order to forgive. The approaches and beliefs shared in this video provide great food for thought and discussion.

“To forgive is a choice that I make,” says Anantanand Rambachan, a Hindu-American scholar, “The apology is the choice of the other. But if forgiveness is an expression of love, then I would want to say that forgiveness does not depend on upon the apology of the other.”

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks notes that “Normally in Judaism, we see forgiveness as something associated with atonement, remorse, apology. But Maimonedes, our greatest sage of the middle ages, rules that if the other person does not apologize, you are still free to forgive and you should. And I agree with him because, harboring a grudge or resentment is a terrible weight to carry around with you and you have to travel light in this world.”

Take a few minutes to watch, then tell us what your take is on this question. Is your perspective rooted in religious, spiritual, ethical beliefs, emotions, a sense of fairness?