Speaking forgiveness

For a long time now I have been drawn repeatedly to the subject of forgiveness. Perhaps because I struggle with it so much myself… both on the extending and the receiving ends. As I feel the urge to lash back at someone who has slighted or wronged me begin to well up inside, I realize how far I yet have to go on the “transformation toward Christ-likeness” journey, as Dallas Willard would call it.

One of the sub-topics of forgiveness that has really puzzled me is this: when I am at last able to forgive someone who has injured me, does it “count” as actual forgiveness if I do not speak that forgiveness directly to them? Can I, in the privacy of my prayer closet alone with God, just forgive Bob without calling Bob or going to visit him and saying, “Bob, I forgive you”?

In one sense, I feel like I am giving myself a “weasel hatch” if I do not go and speak to Bob and offer my forgiveness in person. In a sense I am preserving the ability to change my mind and say, “Nope, sorry. I thought I was going to forgive you, but I’ve changed my mind. You blew it.” It goes without saying that there is absolutely no resemblance between this form of conditional forgiveness and the forgiveness we receive from God DAILY! But many times that awareness does not stop us from being jerks.  On the other hand, making a production out of the act of walking up to Bob, looking him right in the eye, grabbing his one hand with both of my hands and saying, “Bob, I just want you to know that I forgive you,” runs the risk of dredging up the past hurt and renewing the animosity again, or else just emphasizing MY amazing virtue as a wonderful, generous, forgiving person. Either one of those options seems to be completely counter-productive also.

So here is the response that finally bubbled up out of the depths the other day that seems to make some kind of sense… But I would really like to hear from folks about whether this sounds reasonable, biblical, totally a rationalization based on personal whims or just what. Let me know!

OK – it seems to me that what matters most on the topic of forgiveness is, from this point forward, the quality of the interaction you have with Bob, (or fill in the blank with a more pertinent name.) If in your heart, your forgiveness of Bob (and just to be clear, “Bob” is a randomly chosen, fictional name here. I don’t really have a beef right now with any Bobs that I am aware of) is genuine, you cannot help but behave differently toward him. The validation of your forgiveness will be your warmth, your acceptance, your genuine compassion, exhibited toward a person for whom you previously experienced none of those things. And really, isn’t that what finally matters? God will see the depth and genunineness of your forgiveness, so does it really matter that you speak it directly to Bob? I suppose if the subject came up and Bob were to say, “Something is different about you lately… what’s the deal?” you might take advantage of that chance to explain. But I am going to go ahead and lodge my official response today as: “No, the act of forgiveness does not necessarily require that your forgiveness be directly spoken.”


0 Responses to “Speaking forgiveness”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Russellings Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Russellings of the Spirit on WordPress.com

Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Flannel with Faith

Embracing imperfection with faith, flannel, & fresh air


Life at age 75, feeling like a 20 year old. You can do it too.

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world

All The Shoes I Wear

Writing Down The Bones

Just Being Me

My life and faith - without a mask.

La Tour Abolie

An eclectic mixture of personal essays, stuff about writing, stuff about books and far out philosophy from an old baggage in a book-tower.

Eden in Babylon

a traditional American musical with a progressive score and topical themes


Pen to paper


A law student and an avid reader. Along with your desired book reviews you're gonna get great book suggestions. Books of all genre with detailed review. Thank you, Visit Again ❤️

Humanitarian Explorer

Traveling the world to discover and meet needs


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Steadfast Pictures

Visual Media for God's Glory!

The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Music and Popular Culture


Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Pics and Posts

Goodies from my mailbox and camera

My Spirals

• Hugs and Infinities

%d bloggers like this: