Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Some Final Words

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The decision about whether or not to reconcile with someone can be tough, and it is one that I recommend against making until after you have fully forgiven the person for the wrongdoing. Someone who has fully forgiven has a very different perspective than someone who has not. Until you have forgiven the wrongdoer, the bitterness you are harboring will continue to drive your emotions and cloud your judgment. You will know that you have fully forgiven the other person when thoughts of what he or she did no longer hurt. I have not forgotten what Person #1 and Person #2 did to me – I simply remember their actions as facts  that no longer hold an emotional punch on the rare occasions that I think about them.

After you have forgiven, pray for God’s wisdom and discernment about whether to reconcile with them. In my experience, God’s answer has been based on the heart of the other person, not my own, and only He knows what is inside the person’s heart. Only he knows whether the other person is truly remorseful or is simply trying to manipulate you.

Confirm whichever direction you are sensing from God with His Word. Reconciliation isn’t about how heinous the other person’s action was – it’s about the degree to which the person is repentant. What Person #1 did to me was exceedingly worse than what Person #2 did. The difference is not in the level of culpability – it’s in the level of remorse.

If God is leading you to reconcile, obey Him. Trust that He knows what He is doing and that He will bless you richly for your obedience. If you have concerns about walking back into an abusive situation, pray for God to confirm what He is telling you as well as for any specific steps you need to take to protect yourself from further harm. Part of the healing God wants to do for you is to remove the victim mentality. My interactions with Person #1 after forgiveness and reconciliation have been empowering, not victimizing.

Trust that God knows what He is doing. If he is leading you toward reconciliation, trust that He will give you beauty for ashes as you walk in obedience with Him.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace doing a rap move with “Word” on a necklace. Courtesy Bitmoji.]