Answering the Question, “But if I Forgive Them …”

Many people have reasons they don’t forgive. I’d like to show you in this post why those reasons are not good reasons – especially in comparison to the great and amazing things gained by forgiving.

1) If I forgive them, they’ll do it again.  Forgiveness is not permission.  Forgiveness does not say it was ok to do that. Forgiveness cancels their debt. We can still set boundaries to ensure it won’t happen again. e.g., When you start to insult me, I will leave the room.

2) If I forgive them, they’re “off the hook”.  I have some bad news for you – they are already “off the hook”. They did it and got away with it – that’s why you have to forgive them. They don’t think about it but it keeps you up at night thinking about it. Forgiveness allows you to move on. It’s not them that gets off the hook” – it’s you.  

3) I don’t feel like forgiving them.  Forgiveness is a choice – not an emotion.  As we continue to forgive them as it comes to our minds, our emotions will come along. Sometimes I have to write a whole bunch of letters to them that I will never send to help with the anger.

4) I forgave them, but still hurts – maybe I didn’t really forgive them. Again, forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. The pain does take time to heal.  The more honestly I admit the pain they caused me, the more deeply I can heal.   

5) If I forgive them, I pay the price. The truth is, you already paid the price. This will not change. Forgiveness accepts this fact and allows you to move on. Although forgiveness is costly, it is more costly not to forgive. When we don’t forgive, we pay the price over and over. If you forgive every time you remember it, eventually you will all but forget it.


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