The following arrived in my email and is another perspective on the process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness vs. Getting One’s Favor

by Bhakti Tirtha Swami

An illustration of how the principle of anugraha works is this: Someone steals your car. Later you find out who it was, and the thief knows that you know. The thief comes to your house and very humbly apologizes, “I did it. I made a mistake. I wasn’t in a proper state of mind, but I did do it and I beg forgiveness.” The owner of the car forgives the thief.

That is ksama, forgiveness. Anugraha, gaining the favor of the offended party, is different. In the act of forgiveness one has given up anger or agitation concerning the theft, but that does not constitute anugraha, getting the favor of the wronged party. What constitutes anugraha is this: The next step after begging for forgiveness is that the offender works overtime, raises money, buys the same kind of car that the owner originally had, and brings it to the rightful owner.

This is the difference between the two. The extra step of rectifying the situation beyond the apology must be there for forgiveness to be complete and for favor to be bestowed upon the offender.

In the one case forgiveness was granted, but the offender had not really changed the situation, even though the offended party did not hold any grudge and never did. Nevertheless, the situation had still not been completely rectified. The offended person no longer had a car even after having forgiven the person. The situation had not been placed in order because the car was still missing.

This is one of the reasons why sometimes a person may carry a scar from offenses even when the other person who was offended does not accept it as an offense and even if one is wise enough to make an apology.