Does intent matter?
I hear this over and over. If someone harms you because of ignorance, maybe it's kind of okay, They didn't know what they were doing. Right?
But if someone does something to you that harms you, knowingly of what they are doing, though most likely not very aware of the full impact of what you experienced, isn't that person a worse person than someone who didn't realize at all what they were doing?
What if the person who completely didn't realize what they were doing, simply continued on in that ignorance after seeing the repercussions of their actions? Then they did that kind of thing and other things to others causing further damage. Then is THAT okay?
What if the person who knew what they were doing, went on to learn from what they had done? Probably then made other mistakes with others but didn't repeat the actions that led to your pain. Is THAT okay?
It recently occurred to me that we value things in odd ways. That our priorities aren't what we think they should be. They are frequently misplaced priorities in using the wrong filters to view them through.
I would much rather have someone consciously hurt me, then later, because they were conscious of their actions, reflected on them and chose another path. Rather than someone who is seemingly oblivious to their actions, who goes on ignorantly following a path in life that is leaving a wake of harm behind them.
I think in part the problem there is that we believe we would be enabling in being understanding, or worse, in forgiving someone who consciously has done us harm.
The issue there is in the tense. The orientation and direction.
A good (best) friend at one time in my life had a way of living that I found semi repugnant. I made that clear. I said as long as I didn't get caught up in that net, I could be fine. Until I got caught up in that and that ended our relationship, and it made me rather angry.
Years later they got onto a good life path. I had been a part of that destructive life and path and until now in having no part in that path, in simply knowing no one any longer is being harmed (generally speaking), finally I can allay my feelings and passions about them. Though they are still no longer my friend at least I know they have changed their ways. Sometimes the damage is simply too great and bridges do get burned.
However, another "friend" is still just the same. They are nice, but still ignorant of their bad behaviors. One can therefore know, if they are still in that realm of influence, that they will eventually surely get caught up in it and regret it.
So who would you rather deal with now? The one hear eventually learned and moved on to better things, or the one who remains the same dysfunctional person?
In the past we typically would go for one over the other. Because in the moment, at the time, we have different values, different preferences.
If we receive the same harm from both, but the mere intent of one is better than the other, do we forgive them and not the other? Or do we recognize both are problematic as we will eventually suffer from either of them and avoid them both?
Just how much should we put up with before walking away and who do we forgive, or not?