According to The Word Detective, the root of the word forgive is the Latin word perdonare – “to give completely, without reservation.” In modern English forgive has taken on the meanings of “to pardon for an offence,” “renounce anger at,” and “to abandon a claim on.”
Forgiveness is also the conscious action to reconcile with someone who is in physical or emotional pain because of one’s actions or inabilities:
Let’s look now at the story of Almir, the ice-cream man. Almir had a difficult childhood. His parents could not support him and abandoned him. He lived on the streets and in an orphanage, in the state of Sergipe, in northeastern Brazil. He left the orphanage in 1989, and went to live in a place called: The Misery Village. Today, Almir continues to work as an ice-cream man; however, he also supports a nursery for 50 children.
Forgiveness is part of Almir’s attitude. He does not question whether he should help those in need; he just helps. His generous attitude is a permanent attitude of forgiveness to a social system that failed him in childhood. According to Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Almir has chosen to release his past and to become the hero of his new story instead of a victim.
Written by Rosana Brasil, LMFT Full-time counsellor in Scarborough