Forgiveness means different things 


to different people. 


Generally, forgiveness involves a decision to 


let go of resentment, hostility, negativity,


and thoughts that can have us so wrapped up 


in stinking thinking that we can't enjoy the present.



We are often apprehensive about forgiving 


because we feel that forgiveness means 


we must once again 


expose ourselves to the same toxic, mean-spirited, 


destructive abusers... and trust them again. 



To the contrary... 


forgiveness doesn't mean denying reality.

 

Forgiveness is not forgetting the harm done to us.


It is not pretending it didn't happen or 


making up with the person and 


erasing the bitter past.



Forgiveness does not change the past.


It does not condone, excuse, 


or declare one not-guilty of wrongdoing. 


And it certainly does not delete the memory 


or mean reconciliation.



Forgiveness does not justify the deed or the person, 


it does not provide God's forgiveness for their actions, 


because only God can do that. 


God says it is in our own best interest to forgive! God is 


not talking about what is in the best interest of the person 


who needs to be forgiven. We are the ones who God is 


trying to protect. We are the ones who receive the most 


benefit from forgiveness, not the other person.


While nothing can undo the past, 


by embracing forgiveness, 


we can also realize peace of mind, 


improved health and well being


gratitude, and joy.


We can create a new way to remember 


and do something about the condition of our own 


present and future. 



Forgiveness is based on 


grace.



Forgiving others makes a way for our

 

own healing to begin.


Forgiving frees up our power and releases us 


from a painful burden.



Forgiveness heals our soul.


It sets our mind and spirit free.


Forgiveness opens a pathway 


to a new place of peace.

Forgiveness is something that takes 


place between the one who has been 


hurt and God.



Self-righteously announcing 


our gracious forgiveness to someone... 


can be a manipulation to make the hurt or offended person 


feel guilty. It is also a form of pride.

 


Some people are notorious for saying the word “sorry” 


almost like they mean it as a way to dismiss someone or 


with the expectation that the hurt or offended person 


will get over it quicklyThey offer insincere apologies. 


These insincere apologies turn into non-apologies... 


which is a meaningless attempt to protect one's image by 


heading off being blamed or criticized. 


Their pseudo-apologies are attempts to "make nice", but 


their hearts are not into it. They have nothing to do with 


the offense or hurt inflicted on another. They apologize 


to protect themselves and not take responsibility. 


Such apologies miss the point.



Sometimes people can be so rigid and hardened 


that they do not register others' pain. 


Their apologies are not apologies at all.


God knows.


A genuine apology is more than mouthing the words. It’s 


registering the damage we’ve done. When our words, our 


body language, and our tone of voice derive from a deep 


recognition of the pain we’ve caused, true healing and 


forgiveness become possible. We might say something 


like, “I’m really sorry I did that” or “I can see how much 


pain I caused you and I feel bad about that” rather than a 


more cold, impersonal, and half-hearted, “I’m sorry if you 


were offended by that.”


“Sorry” is related to the word “sorrow.” 


A sincere apology includes feeling sorrow or remorse 


for our actions.

If we can let go of our self-image, we might discover 

that it can actually feel good to offer a heartfelt apology. 

It connects us with the person we’ve hurt. And it may 

surprise us that our image actually improves if we display 

a sincerity that derives not from some calculation or 

manipulation, but from the depths of our human heart.

God knows.

Forgiveness may not lead to 


a healed relationship and it does not mean 


what happened was okay 


or we need to welcome the person 


back in our lives. 


Forgiveness is a process, 


and yes, we should be cautious of someone 


who knew we would be hurt... and they did it anyway,


but in forgiving, 


we learn about the heart of God.