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[73] should not come too easily. It ought to be a sort of self-punishment which will make me hesitate another time before incurring my own displeasure. I have a friend who apologizes at the least provocation-“Oh, yes, to be sure. You are quite right. I am awfully sorry;” and in five minutes he will be doing the same thing again, and rattling off the same formula. An over-issue of apologies is like an over-issue of paper dollars; it makes them altogether valueless. The superficial readiness to forgive comes under the same category. I once read a letter in which the writer apparently inflicted an injury upon the recipient. He closed it glibly as follows: “I know you will resent this, but I forgive you freely beforehand.” Of course, this coin was counterfeit on its face. Forgiveness and apology, from sinned against and sinning, must represent positive sympathy with the other party, or they really become affronts. Forgiveness is a sort of self-blame, too; you blame yourself for not having forgiven before — for having to forgive at all — for taking any notice whatever of the offense, and it is the lack of universal sympathy which makes either necessary. You find yourself out of tune, like a violin, and you proceed to screw yourself up to the proper pitch. The chief use of forgiveness and apology is to the forgiver and apologizer.

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