We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don't want to keep paying for the injustice.

The above sentence is from the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

When I read this sentence in the book, I'm a little confused by the sentence, which is bold and italic.

I know that 'we feel have wronged us' is an attributive clause, but I'm not very sure the function of 'we feel'. I have the following two understandings.

  1. 'We feel' is a parenthesis, and the relative pronoun 'who', the subject of the clause, is omitted. But I did not find any grammar rule to prove this possibility. However, I found a similar sentence structure from John 9:19 'Is this the one you say was born blind?'. So Is the phrase 'we feel' a parenthesis here?

  2. I think the relative pronoun which is omitted is 'whom', and it serves as the object of 'feel' in the clause. the structure of the clause is 'someone feels someone do something. But it seems not that all right, since the meaning of 'feel someone/something do something' is to notice something that is touching you or something that is happening to your body.

So, please help.

1 Answer 1


I can't say I find the sentence to be particularly well written. But it is clear enough what is literally meant through "forgiven." The literal meaning is "We must forgive those whom we emotionally perceive to have wronged us" and so indicates doubt about whether a neutral third party would see any wrong at all. Of course that reading makes nonsense about "paying for injustice" because there is only a personal feeling of grievance that may or not be warranted. I suspect what was meant was "We must forgive those who have wronged us." Sloppy thought leads to sloppy prose.

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