Part 7: Forgive Offenses
In the dictionary and in life, forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean reconciliation.
reconcile (verb): to restore to friendship or harmony; to check (a financial account) against another for accuracy
We don't have to pretend we are not hurt. That is not forgiveness; that is lying. The human mind is amazing, but it does not have the ability to forget at will. Forgiveness is not denying the reality of our pain.
Suppose I've just stolen $1,000 from you. I say, "I sincerely repent of my actions. I will never do it again. Please forgive me." Do I get to keep the $1,000 because I apologized? What is repentance worth if I keep the money? If I don't return what I stole, my supposed repentance is hollow and meaningless; I have no intention to turn from my previous behavior. When Zacchaeus repented of stealing from Jews by inflating their taxes, he offered to pay it back (see Lk 19:1-10). People can be forgiven and still have to pay for their crime — that's why God has many souls pass through purgatory before they can enter heaven. We have to face the consequences of breaking the law of the land or the law of God.
If someone stole from you and did not repent, they may not remain your friend. But should you forgive them? You certainly can't restore the relationship, but you can and should forgive. While repentance and remorse are necessary to receive forgiveness, they are not prerequisites for granting forgiveness. You are not likely to hear the person who jumped in front of you at the grocery store line repent, but you should still forgive them and move on.
Your repentance is necessary to receive God's forgiveness and restore our relationship with him. But their repentance is not necessary to grant forgiveness.
• Teach the ignorantOriginal Article
• Pray for the living and the dead
• Admonish sinners
• Counsel those in doubt
• Console the sorrowful
• Bear wrongs patiently
• Forgive offenses