If You Forgive, Can You Forget?

I was listening to biblical counselor June Hunt on the radio one morning.  June always engages in deep soulish matters, that always leave me with something to ponder.  The topic that morning was forgiveness and reconciliation.  She broke the whole thing down so well, I felt it bared repeating.  I have what the excerpt below.

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness focuses on the offense, whereas reconciliation focuses on the relationship. Forgiveness requires no relationship. However, reconciliation requires a relationship in which two people, in agreement, are walking together toward the same goal. The Bible says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3)

Forgiveness can take place with only one person.

Reconciliation requires at least two persons.

Forgiveness is directed one-way.

Reconciliation is reciprocal, occurring two-ways.

Forgiveness is a decision to release the offender.

Reconciliation is the effort to rejoin the offender.

Forgiveness involves a change in thinking about the offender.

Reconciliation involves a change in behavior by the offender.

Forgiveness is a free gift to the one who has broken trust.

Reconciliation is a restored relationship based on restored trust.

Forgiveness is extended even if it is never, ever earned.

Reconciliation is offered to the offender because it has been earned.

Forgiveness is unconditional, regardless of a lack of repentance.

Reconciliation is conditional, based on repentance.

Personally, I’d always view forgiveness and reconciliation as synonyms.  However, with this new-found wisdom, I am forced to reconsider some things.  I’ll have to examine my own heart to determine if there are some people in my life that I need to reconcile with or others where forgiveness is as far as it gets for now. 

My greatest concern comes when I consider the faithful of Jesus Christ.  Blacks and whites, democrats and republicans, Cowboys fans and Steelers fans, meat eater and vegan, the list goes on and on, but the point is are we walking together toward the same goal?  And does that goal, which is the gospel, trump all other petty differences?  The answer for each of us should be yes.  I’m big enough to admit that from now on I’m going to work harder to love my fellow brother in Christ, even if he is a Democrat, vegan, Pittsburg Steelers fan. 

Tim Lollis is Executive Director of Destiny Institute, community relations specialist, and freelance writer. See more articles at

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