What Forgiveness IS About

  • Canceling the emotional, spiritual or material debt owed to us. (Seeking restitution or other consequences may be in order in certain situations.)
  • Ceasing to hope that bad things would befall those who offended us. Ceasing to rejoice, openly or secretly, when bad things do happen to them. Letting go of fantasies of revenge or vengeful actions against the offender.
  • Letting go of our “victim” identity, taking responsibility for our actions, & for our present & our future.
  • Seeing through the offenders’ toughness or wickedness to their woundedness, self-deception, and pain. Letting go of our hatred of the offender. Feeling compassion and pity for those who hurt us. Praying for God to forgive and bless the offender.
  • Becoming open to reconciliation and a renewed relationship, depending on the degree of confession and active repentance of the offender.
  • Learning to see God’s loving presence in our painful circumstances. Trusting / hoping that God can use our suffering for good (Romans 8:28), and cooperating with Him to bring that about.

Copyright Caterina G.S. James, Ph.D., 1997

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