Forgiveness is not a pardoning or condoning of a bad behavior or justifying of an offense.
It is not dependent on an apology, or whether the person will ever be talked to again.
Forgiveness does not imply turning the other cheek to allow the offense to occur again.
It does not demand reconciliation. Reconciliation, the coming together again of two upset parties, is not necessarily the outcome of forgiving. A person can forgive and choose to set limits and never see the person again to protect against abusive behavior. However, for effective reconciliation to occur, , there must first be forgiveness.
It is not dependent on the offending person being alive or ever present in one’s life again.
Forgiving is not losing. Losing is having to deal with the stress of anger and hate in your body that ruins relationships, and can even cause physical problems. What kind of winning is that?
Forgiving is not the easy way out. It takes more courage, authenticity and integrity to let go of a justified upset and find peace. It takes courage to go through the wall of anger and resentment to the other side – the side of our highest potential.
The offender’s apology is not necessary. In fact, he or she may never apologize because he or she has a different perspective of what happened.
Whether the person deserves forgiveness is not the question, he or she might not. While forgiveness can be an act of compassion for another, it is mainly for the forgivers so that they are no longer tortured by hate and anger.
Even though someone continues to commit the offense, forgiveness can still occur because forgiving wipes away the effects of the past – even if it was only 15 minutes before.
Putting the offense out of sight, out of mind or forgetting about it may not always be forgiveness. It can be denial of the effects of the offending act. Forgiveness acknowledges what was done and chooses to let it go, but not by avoiding its impact. Avoiding the impact just keeps the negative effects below the surface of the mind.
These myths and misunderstandings about forgiving keep it from being done. I hope this summary has helped you understand forgiveness and has moved you closer to forgiving.