Forgive Them Because They Don’t Know

Forgive Them Because They Don’t Know

The Daily Stoic for July 19th. “Forgive Them Because They Don’t Know”.

“As Plato said, every soul is deprived of truth against its will. The same holds true for justice, self-control, goodwill to others, and every similar virtue. It’s essential to constantly keep this in your mind, for it will make you more gentle to all.”

Forgive them because they don’t know“, those were supposedly the words that Jesus said to those mocking him as he walked towards his crucifixion. As you may already know, I am not a big fan of religion, especially Christianism.

Here, Marcus Aurelius is talking in similar terms. The words may be different, but the concept is the same: not being so hard on people who offend you, or hurt you somehow.

So while I may agree with this way of thinking to certain exempt, I think you must differentiate between understanding and submission.

To illustrate the difference, let me tell you a little story.

Forgive Them Because They Don’t Know

You won’t believe that if you talk to me today, but in school, I was a shy, introvert kid. I was physically weak, very thin, and even if I practiced Taekwondo, we were taught to not engage in fights. It was a philosophical teaching associated with this martial art, and I firmly believed in it.  I was also a pacifist at heart. That could only mean one thing:

I was bullied at school.

There was an especially disgusting bully at school that used to abuse his position of power. I endured this bullying for quite some time. One day, I had enough. We were at a school party, and he decided to kick me and have some fun mocking me.

This time, for whatever reason, something wired differently in my brain. I picked up a chair and slammed it against his face. We engaged in a fight, and I broke his nose. I was badly hurt also, but I had won the battle. From that point on, I was not bullied anymore. Curiously enough, this guy even ended up becoming friends with me.

So while I believe in understanding, forgiveness, and tolerance, I also think you need to fight back. You need to set your limits and don’t let others abuse you. Be indulgent, forbearing and tolerant, but firm. Let others know you are not the right guy to bully.


I cannot fully agree with today’s Daily Stoic, “Forgive Them Because They Don’t Know”, I think we all need to be tolerant and indulgent, but don’t let others abuse or mock us.