As a hospital chaplain, I was declared an essential worker at the beginning of the pandemic and I want my student loan debt canceled. Not forgiven. Canceled. Because we need to be clear about what forgiveness is and about who’s forgiving whom in this transaction.
My essential skills include significant training in biblical studies, theology, and ethics, so I’ve spent some time thinking about forgiveness and how it works. One major goal of forgiveness is reconciliation: a healing of a relationship. Ideally, the party that has committed an offense against the other will seek forgiveness by apologizing for their offense. With student loan forgiveness, I keep wondering what borrowers have done that is offensive. Why do we need to be forgiven? In fact, I think that the proverbial tables should be flipped: the government should be asking us for forgiveness.