Good discussion this evening on forgiveness… read together a chapter of Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall. He covers what forgiveness is and what it is not… very helpful.

It is not:

  • approval of what they did
  • excusing what they did
  • justifying what they did
  • pardoning what they did
  • reconcilliation
  • denying what they did
  • blindness to what happened
  • forgetting
  • refusing to take the wrong seriously
  • pretending we are not hurt

It is:

  • being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them
  • a choice to keep no records of wrong
  • refusing to punish
  • not telling what they did
  • being merciful
  • graciousness
  • an inner condition
  • the absence of bitterness
  • forgiving God
  • forgiving ourselves

I think that “it is not telling what they did” might be incompatible with “not forgetting” or “not refusing to take the wrong seriously.” To skip to the hypothetical applications that you can see through anyway… the other party doesn’t have to “repent” before you forgive, which is worth mentioning. The question before me has to do with how one responds after forgiving, and what one does when the other party does not acknowledge any wrong but continues to wrong others. One thing that seems clear is that forgiveness does not preclude consequences… sometimes a consequence is that the relationship is forever changed, hence forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean reconcilliation. Good thoughts, still processing…

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