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What Does real Forgiveness Look Like?

The inability to really forgive is often due to a false concept that "forgetting is forgiving". Forgetting is NOT forgiving. To be sure, if we forgive we will forget as a result. But the reverse is not true: forgetting is not forgiving--it is denial. This childish pantomime of "forgiveness" often carries into adulthood as a superficial substitute for the real thing. We think by "saying so", it is so. But is God fooled by such? Is there ever a place where we can escape His penetrating gaze? Does He not see the secret meditation of revenge or the bitter hatred behind the nice smile? Since when is He impressed with mere words when hearts do not match?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 7:05 AM on Aug. 22, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (20)
  • Forgiveness is an act of the will.

    Forgiveness is not a passive process of forgetting or letting something fade in memory. Rather, it is an active process which involves a conscious choice and deliberate course of action. God has willed to remember our sins no more. Same for us: we draw on God’s grace and decide not to think or talk about what others have done to hurt us.

    Forgiveness is not excusing by saying, “Its okay, it wasn’t that big of a deal.” Forgiveness is the opposite of excusing – forgiveness says, “yes, we both know that what you did was wrong, but since God has forgiven me, so also I forgive you.”


    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:23 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Forgiveness can be costly and painful. Sometimes certain effects of a person’s sins linger for quite a long time – you have to fight against painful memories, work on trusting the person, and sometimes you may have to deal with physical costs such as finances or injury. The forgiving heart will put the other person first and self last.

    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:23 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Well, what about the person who wronged the other? Why is it the "victim" needs to be the forgiving one? What if the "perpetrator" is not genuine in asking forgiveness, and the victim knows this? I've always gone by the saying "Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words." I've been fooled MANY times by the people who are supposed to love unconditionally (parents), so when do I get to decide that enough is enough and forget them--in the eyes of God?!

    The only thing I ever did wrong was being born to a mother who didn't want me and a father who didn't know about me--yet, somehow I'm just supposed ot turn the other cheek? Not gonna happen! I will NEVER forgive, but I will totally forget--been 8 years since seeing or speaking with my mother (father is dead)--and I couldn't be happier!

    But I supposed I'm a "bad Catholic" in YOUR eyes. If God has been watching all this time, he's probably been rooting for me!


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:26 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Hey anon someone once told me these five steps to forgive someone and i want to share them with you... I had a hard time forgiving someone who raped me and forgiving my mom when we was young also she did some mean things.. BUT GOD HELPED ME AND NOW I HAVE A LOVE AND A GREAT PEACE.. here are the 5 things... God bless

    How to Truly Forgive Step 1 - Acknowledgement

    The first step in learning to forgive is to acknowledge the fact that you have been hurt. Some of us with big egos may have to work on this because we may not want to admit we were hurt or that we can be hurt. The pain is already there and the first step in the forgiveness process is to acknowledge who, what, and how you have been hurt. Once this acknowledgement has been made, we can move to the next step.

    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:48 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • How to Truly Forgive Step 2 - Be the bigger person

    This step in forgiveness is to not wait for the person who has done you wrong to apologize. Instead, you should go and apologize first. Do not just apologize because you want to be first, but because you really mean it. A lot of the times people hurt someone because they have been hurt as well. If someone has hurt you because of something you did, you cannot expect them to come to you, so be the bigger person and apologize.

    How to Truly Forgive Step 3 - Be patient
    A lot of pain can take awhile to pass. You cannot expect the pain to disappear the moment you say "I forgive you." If your pain has turned to anger and resentment, get some counseling. This can help you understand exactly why this particular episode hurt you so much. It can also help you to understand why you are still feeling the hurt even if the incident occurred several months or even years earlier.


    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:49 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • How to Truly Forgive Step 4 - Forgive yourself

    Before you can let this person back into your life, you must be able to forgive yourself. This is probably the hardest step in the process because you have to be completely honest with yourself. You must admit to yourself your role in why you were hurt. There should be no justifications for what you did, but you must know that you contributed to your own feelings of hurt. You must pinpoint exactly what it was that you did to cause this person to hurt you. During this process, you must understand that your act was wrong but it does not mean you are a bad person.

    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:50 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • How to Truly Forgive Step 5 - Set limits

    When you forgive someone, it is hard to let the person back into your life completely. In order to truly forgive someone, you must set limits. Make the person promise they will not hurt you again. If they truly commit themselves to not hurting you let them back into your life. Take the process a step at a time. You can start out by only allowing a phone call once or twice a week. Once you are comfortable with them in your life, allow them to visit you periodically for short periods of time.

    Understanding what, why, and how someone has hurt you is the only way to begin the process of forgiveness. You must acknowledge how you contributed to the person's reason for hurting you and might need to ask them for forgiveness as well. Taking these steps will help you to truly forgive those who have hurt you.

    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:50 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Real forgiveness isn't backed up by retaliation. Real forgiveness FORGIVES (doesn't dwell on wrongs). Real forgiveness doesn't mean canceling someone else because you disagree with them.


    Answer by Anonymous at 8:05 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • anon if that is how you take it im sorry i was just trying to help you... God bless

    Answer by hinson7169 at 8:06 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • forgiveness starts in the heart. Otherwise it is just false words falling from tight lips of hypocrisy. Sometimes people mistake forgiveness with weakness. When the opposite is true. TRUE forgiveness shows strength and love and character. It takes a LOT from a person to truly forgive and continue to show love.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 8:38 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

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