Magnolia trees The Danny Sims Blog

Here are my occasional insights, stories, conversations, perspectives, ideas, reflections, theological musings. And whatever else I might post.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Ten things people get wrong about forgiveness

TEN: “Forgiveness requires reconciliation.” The former opens the door for the later, but sometimes reconciliation just is not possible. Forgiveness is what enables you to move on without bitterness.

NINE: “If you can’t forget you can’t forgive.” Opposite of the truth. Forgiveness is letting go of stuff (often very bad, hurtful stuff) you can’t possibly forget so that whatever that awful stuff is, it does not control your life.

EIGHT: “Forgiveness means what happened is somehow minimized and an offending person is no longer accountable.” Not true! You can forgive and still hold the person accountable. In fact that is what ought to happen!

SEVEN: “I can’t forgive unless they ask.” This is a big myth. Experience tells us the person who hurt you will hardly ever ask. Forgive and move on.

SIX: “I can’t forgive if they are dead.” Wrong! Forgiving a harm you suffered by someone who has died means you get to live without ongoing resentment. Write them a letter, go to their grave, or have someone sit in for them as a proxy and tell them you forgive them. Do it as many times as it takes. Could be seven or more. Or so I’ve heard.

FIVE: “If I forgive, the other party has to also forgive. “ Nope. Forgiveness is unilateral. It depends on one person: you.

FOUR: “Forgiveness makes me a perpetual doormat.” Not really, but even if it did you’d be a doormat without regret.

THREE: “I don’t have to forgive if I didn’t do anything wrong.” That might be true if unforgiveness wasn’t wrong.

TWO: “I’m going to hold on to this because holding on to it will hurt so and so!” Ha! This one would make me laugh if it wasn’t so sad and harmful. Unforgiveness is the poison people drink because they think it hurts the other guy!

ONE: “Forgiveness is for the other person.” Nope. Forgiveness is the key to your freedom, the key to your jail cells of hate, slander, gossip, and retribution.  Forgiveness is for you first.