Continuing on with the last topic…
#6 Forgiveness is not saying ‘it’s OK’ when it’s not OK. That’s not forgiveness, that’s lying. There are some times when it really is OK, and at those times saying ‘it’s OK’ is fine. For example, when there’s been some small infraction that doesn’t require forgiveness — it really is OK. No harm done. Or when something happened that was unfortunate, but not wrong. Sometimes you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and unknowingly or unwillingly set off a chain of events and cause some minor damage to someone. In those cases ‘it’s OK’ is a perfectly fine thing to say. But there are other times when real wrong was committed that steps up to the level that requires real forgiveness. In those times I can sometimes feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up straight when I hear the offended party saying ‘it’s OK’. I think saying that demeans real forgiveness when it happens. (Don’t worry, I always manage to keep my thoughts to myself.)
#7 Forgiveness is not blocking things out of your mind. That’s not forgiveness, that’s dissociation and it’s a bad idea. Take my word for it. I believe there are some cases where a person could forgive so completely that the offense could be completely forgotten. But I believe there can also be deep and true forgiveness without forgetting the offense.
#8 Forgiveness is not always preceded by repentance. Holding out until the person who hurt you repents only hurts you even more. Sometimes the long awaited apology never comes and sometimes it can’t come because the person who hurt you is dead or you don’t know who he or she is. I’ve heard people say that God doesn’t expect us to forgive people unless those people are sorry for what they did. That never made sense to me. Why should my suffering be compounded by not getting the blessing of forgiving someone because the person who hurt me is unable or unwilling to be sorry for what they did?
#9 Forgiveness is not easy. You can’t do it until you are ready. Sometimes you have to forgive more than once because you get a chance to forgive at deeper and deeper levels when the pain comes back around. Each chance to forgive again is a blessing, not a failure.