When a crime is committed or moral injury occurs, we often respond in one of two ways: we condemn the offense and seek redress, or we declare our willingness to forgive and move on. 

But a reflexive willingness to pardon—though praised by the Christian tradition—can actually be a problem, argues Matthew Potts. He’s a professor and pastor at Harvard Divinity School, and author of the new book Forgiveness: An Alternative Account.

Joined by Commonweal literary editor Anthony Domestico, Potts explains how his novel account of forgiveness demands a habit of non-retaliation, and why literary fiction provides the perfect vantage point for parsing the moral complexity of mercy. 

For further reading

“The past can’t be changed. But we can build a new future together.”—Matthew Potts
© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.