Day 4 – Tricky Questions About Forgiveness

Forgiveness can appear to be a simple thing.  And sometimes, it is.

But for some people, and in some cases, it’s not.  It can get very complicated very quickly.

So today I’m going to list a few of the “tricky” problems of forgiveness.

I’d like to get them out on the table now, so that we can let them simmer for a while.  In my experience when someone encourages you to forgive without considering some or all of these complications it can be very difficult to hear their heart.

I think these questions are really important.

So off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

  1. How do you forgive when the pain continues/the damage is so high/they got away with it?
  2. If I forgive, do I lose something? Do I undermine a treasured memory or a precious person? Do I desecrate something sacred by “letting this go?” (is letting this go = forgiveness?)
  3. Does forgiving mean forgetting?
  4. How does the Spirit of God help?  What does that look like?  Are Christians different than others when it comes to forgiveness?
  5. How do forgiveness and reconciliation overlap, merge, or relate to each other? Can I do one without the other?
  6. Does forgiveness matter if the offending party is gone? No longer living or just not present? Is there ever need or room for confrontation? Do you have to let the other side know that you’ve forgiven?
  7. Can you ever fully forgive?
  8. What about when the offender doesn’t care/admit/accept there is an offense? How do you forgive that?
  9. Why even forgive? What if you don’t want to? Sometimes not forgiving feels powerful and motivating. Wouldn’t I lose that energy if I forgave? What does it mean that I’m driven by this negative instead of positive force? Is that OK?
  10. Why does most advice about forgiveness seem so trite and shallow? Isn’t it more akin to denial? And what if it is? What happens then?

OK, I think that’s enough for today!

As always, I’m reading every comment and email reply, so thank you for participating.  This plan to write about forgiveness for 4 weeks is a journey, both for you and for me.

Thanks for coming along.  My prayers are with you, and if you could pray for me, I’d appreciate it!

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  1. How can we distinguish forgiveness vs repressed/denied? I struggle with feeling that I totally forgive someone and then Think of situation out is blue on random day and it totally disrupts my mood/emotions. Or even worse people are surprised when I do not blame someone for doing something I should be upset about, as initially I understand it was not intentional or they have their weakness out of my/their control, but later I do get subconsciously angry and it comes out unexpectedly.

  2. Forgiveness isn’t about the person, place, thing, or situation that I’m holding a resentment towards. It’s about my inner peace or “the peace of God”. If I’m holding something against another I’m really separating myself from the God. Saying “Man U really screwed up when you created that one”. Forgiveness…..I extend it to receive it. Not only to others but if I’m to want forgiveness I must extend it ❤️❤️✌🏼✌🏼🙏🙏

  3. I feel that it’s important to forgive, because that offence will control the rest of your life. How you deal with others, how you treat others. Unforgiveness causes you to miss out on the blessings of God through others. It causes your soul to be bitter. Forgiveness shows your love for God. God forgave us of our offences against him and his son.
    Now when it comes to getting, you can’t forget the offence. But you look for a lesson in it, what to do the next time your faced with a similar situation. See it coming but most of all operate in the spirit. Be filled with it by confession of your own offence against God.( 1 john 1:9) l. If we confess our sins, God is gracious and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us of all unrighteousness. And most of all and bottom line, forgiveness brings about the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. I’ll stop right here because I can go on about the peace of God that comes from forgiveness.

  4. This is a fantastic exploration. Thank you for sharing it. Tricky is the right word. The question about forgiving people in your heart and not necessarily telling them. And forgiveness vs reconciliation. The decision to love and forgive but also distance yourself from unsafe relationships. Looking forward to your insights.

  5. Number 8 !!!
    I am on a journey right now I sent a text in a message to this person several times over the past year no reply all I can do it I was think in my heart I didn’t do anything say anything so I’m not sure what her problem is but I’m so glad I am on this journey with all of you

  6. In my own experience, I have been forgiven much by Jesus and He fully knows who I am. This experience has resulted in my deep, deep love for Jesus, overflowing into my forgiveness and love for others. I am still learning how to love better, how to love and forgive others with the love of Jesus pouring through my life. (The one who is forgiven much, loves much! Luke 7:36-50)

  7. One teaching on forgiveness that has been instrumental in the area of forgiving others in my life is the image of what forgiveness is like in the mind of an ancient Hebrew person. The word “Forgive” in Greek is “aphiemi” which means to let go from one’s power, possession, to let go free, let escape. In essence the intent of biblical forgiveness is to cut someone loose. So in contrast, then “Unforgiveness” is the image of the unforgiven person roped to the back of the unforgiving person. So in essence forgiveness is the practice of cutting loose the person roped to your back. For me when unforgiveness begins to dwell in my heart I carry that person around roped to my back and when they are that close all you hear is their voice repeatedly tormenting your thoughts. There is nothing like the experience of cutting them loose by me forgiving them and realizing I was the one who was bound up like a prisoner and now I am free.