2 Myths About Forgiveness

#1 Myth: Forgiveness = reconciliation

They are similar but unrelated actions.  You can have one without the other.  Forgiveness is something you can do on your own; reconciliation takes two people.  Forgiveness is commanded in Scripture (Colossians 3:13-14).  Reconciliation is not commanded but is highly suggested if possible (Romans 12:18).

Sometimes reconciliation is not in our best interest and is not spiritually healthy.

Regardless of what others have said, your ability to forgive is not dependent on hugs, warm fuzzies, and a tear running down your cheek.

#2 Myth: If I don’t forgive, God won’t forgive me.

Authentic forgiveness never occurs when we feel coerced to forgive.

This myth comes from Matthew 6:14-15 and elsewhere.  But Jesus is still preaching the old covenant.  Salvation isn’t dependent on what we do.  This highlights the importance of forgiveness but shouldn’t be made into a “work.”  A huge issue surrounding forgiveness is “when” you were “harmed.”  We can’t expect IMMEDIATE forgiveness from people we’ve harmed or people who have been traumatized.  Time plays a role in the healing process.  But bitterness and a refusal to forgive is just as harmful as the original “crime” against us if it continues a lifetime.

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