Counselor Guide on: Forgiveness

What is Forgiveness?

Type A – This is where you decide in your mind that you have forgiven someone else for what they have done to you. This is only a mental assertion, and not an action. There is no reaction expected, per se, but it can lead to further forgiveness.

Type B – This is where you approach someone who has offended you and you offer to forgive them of past wrongdoing. This is an action that will have a reaction. The problem here is that you will very likely not get the reaction you were hoping for.

Type C – Pardoning (which many people call forgiving). This is where you tell yourself that you have forgiven the person(s), and that from now on you have to treat them as though they never hurt you in the first place. Not only is this ludicrous, but it will likely result in you being hurt by the same person(s) again.

Type D – Circumstantial Forgiveness. This is where you will consider forgiving someone because they feel they need it. This probably means that they believe that they have wronged you, even if you don’t agree with them.

Type E – True forgiveness (conditional). This type of forgiveness is also known as Conditional Forgiveness. The reason is found in the story of the king who forgave his slave (Matthew 27:18-36). The king forgave the slave his debt, but implicit in the forgiving was the unstated condition that the slave do the same to others. He did not comply, and so lost his forgiveness for something, of which he had already been forgiven. When Jesus finished telling this story to His listeners, He told them that the Father would do the same to them if they also did not forgive others. Again, implicit in that statement is that we learn to forgive as God does, using the example that Jesus gave. If we attempt to forgive someone who will in return refuse to forgive us as well, then there was probably no forgiveness accepted and therefore nonexistent.

True Forgiveness?

Real forgiveness means the person you are attempting to forgive actually complies with condition of the forgiveness. If they do, there was true forgiveness, if they do not, there was no true forgiveness. In that case, you must choose to turn the “debt” over to God for “collection.” Leave it alone, and move forward with a healthy life free of bitterness.

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