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absolve

If you absolve someone, you forgive him or her after he or she has committed a wrongdoing.

You might use the word absolve to describe what a formal absolution from a priest does, as in, “The priest gave that good-for-nothing, dastardly degenerate an absolution for his heinous crimes, thereby, according to the priest, absolving him of all guilt in god’s eyes. What the hell is up with that? I cough a little too loud during the priest’s sermon and he is all over me. Is that fair? I ask you, is that fair?”

Absolve might also be used when forgiveness is given in less formal circumstances. For example, someone might absolve a spouse after having committed adultery. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. They might say it, but mean it? I doubt it.

Personally, I’d like to see a whole lot more formal absolving going on. I grew up in a culture that inculcated endless guilt feelings in me when I was a kid, even when I didn’t do anything bad. “How dare you sit there minding your own business like a nice little boy! There are people in the world who are suffering. Spend more time on your homework so you won’t be one of them and so you’ll make your parents proud.”

Alright, so not everyone in my culture was always completely altruistic, but their hearts were in the right place.

My point is, with all of these myriad guilt feelings occupying me, I could do with being formally absolved of them; at least absolved of guilt for the wrongs I didn’t commit, but feel guilty about nonetheless. Then again, my guilt feelings are so ingrained that I probably won’t accept being absolved. Never mind.

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