Someone in a philosophy group I just joined on Facebook asked, "what is forgiveness?" Here were my thoughts.
Forgiveness is the act of pardoning someone for wrongdoing. We are able to forgive each other for certain trespasses without payment. However, crimes against society are not so easily dealt with. A judge does not have the authority to just pardon someone for a crime, because that would make him unjust. I think to retain a proper ethic, we must maintain both virtues of justice and forgiveness. Forgiveness as individuals, justice as a society.
However, one of the things that is interesting about Christianity is that this balancing act is met on the cross of Christ. Both the love of God, from which His forgiveness flows, and His justice meet. God incarnate as Christ is able to love and forgive us and pay for the penalty that our sin incurs.