We get confused about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. Maybe we don’t really know sometimes.
Forgiveness is not an option for the believer. We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. For most of us (all of us if we will admit it), that’s a whole lot of forgiveness. Understanding forgiveness doesn’t make it easier to forgive, but it does make it more meaningful…perhaps even tolerable…but I believe understanding the process could make us more likely to offer the forgiveness we are commanded to give.
With that in mind, in two posts, I want to share what forgiveness is and what it isn’t.
Here are 7 things forgiveness IS NOT:
Forgetting - When you forgive someone your memory isn’t suddenly wiped clean of the offense. I know God could do that, but it seems that would be the easy way. I suspect God wants forgiveness to be more intentional than that.
Regaining automatic trust - You don’t immediately trust the person who injured you when you forgive them. That wouldn’t even be logical. Trust is earned, and they must earn trust again.
Removal of consequences – Even though you forgive someone, they may still have consequences to face because of their actions.
Ignoring the offense – You don’t have to pretend nothing happened when you forgive. The reality is an offense was made. Acting like it never occurred only builds resentment and anger.
Instant emotional healing – Emotions heal with time. Some pain runs deep and takes longer to heal.
Restoring the same relationship – The relationship may be closer than before or not, but most likely it will never be the same.
A leverage of power – Granting forgiveness does not give a person power over the person being forgiven. That would violate the entire principle and purpose of forgiveness.
Here is the companion post….7 Things that Forgiveness Is… Just a note before you get there: This post may have seemed easy, even freeing, but the next one may be more difficult.
What would you add to my list of things forgiveness is NOT?