I realize the topic of forgiveness is a hot one these days. Lots of books on the topic. Reasons to forgive range from “its good for you” (or not doing so is bad for your health), its something to give only if the offender asks for it, and its required by God. I suggested in a previous post that it is possible to do so too quickly. Maybe quick or slow isn’t the best choice of words. Superficial vs. deep might be better. Also, we talk about whether forgiveness is a one time act or a daily choice. Is it a feeling or a decision? It seems to me that it is a daily act that does not deny emotions of hurt and pain or recognition that destruction of relationship has taken place. Does forgiveness imply that the victim must act as if the offender never harmed them. If you steal from me, do I allow you to manage my valuables after I forgive you?
Forgiveness is both simple and complex. It is both quick and slow. It is both submission to God and grace to the offender. It does not deny or suppress emotion, it does not pretend nothing happened, it may not change the consequences. It is not the same as reconciliation. It does represent something of God’s immense character and when we see it in action, we see God.