Forgiveness FAQ


No - your mental attitude of forgiveness is reflected in the way you speak about the person or to them, and behave towards them. So forgiveness does show in acts as well as existing in the mind and heart.

Still doesn’t mean you need to treat them as though they never did anything wrong. You treat them as reality dictates - they did wrong but you’ve forgiven them and are willing to make up with them if they acknowledge their wrongdoing and make efforts to change.


Thank you for responding, DV. :slight_smile:

What would you say, then, are acts of forgiveness? For example, lets say i have wronged someone and she says she forgives me. How do i know she has really forgiven me?

Would she, for example, be patient with and kind to me? or can she say she forgives me, and yet be impatient and unkind toward me?


So, LM, if i forgive her, i should be patient, and kind, and i should not be rude or self-seeking or easily angered? Is this what you are saying?


Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. Reconciliation cannot happen before forgiveness if even then.



Are you saying, then, that reconciliation is not forgiveness? or are you saying that there are degrees of forgiveness and that reconciliation is a greater degree of forgiving someone than, say, merely deciding to not take revenge?

In other words, do you think all reconciliation is forgiveness but not all forgiveness is reconciliation? or are you saying reconciliation is a completely different creature than forgiveness?


Perhaps i should reword this question more exactly: Is forgiveness a form of love? and if it is love, is it merely that which i should think, or is it also that which i should express in my words or deeds or both?

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
(1 John 4:20)

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18)


I thought I was pretty clear. You’ve asked four questions above…is it really that difficult for you? How about one question at a time.

Allow me to repeat what I said. “Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things.” Any difficulty with that?



Yes, i do ask many questions, and i hope you will forgive me for asking more. You see, i’m trying to figure out what forgiving is so i can know whether or not i am forgiving. I do not know of any other way to figure this out without asking questions.

This idea, that forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, is new to me. I hope you will be patient with me, as i am slow to learn a new ideas.

Please, ML, will you explain the difference between forgiving and reconciling?


Still hoping LM will try to answer the question. :slight_smile:

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Then, do you David agree with me (and i am not saying my opinion is correct) that forgiveness is reconciliation? My thought is that love is what motivates (or causes) me to forgive, but reconciliation is how i forgive. That is, love is the cause of reconciliation, and reconciliation is the effect of love.

What do you think?


Fighting and Puzzle:

I’m interested in what you two have to add, too. :slight_smile:


What is your idea of the difference between the two? You’re smart…think abou it and let me know.



As others have stated: There is nothing which we must not forgive. Consider that Jesus forgave the people that betrayed (very close friend), tortured, and murdered him…he has brought about the forgiveness of all of our sins (including the ones committed against you) by taking them upon himself. Here is a bit from the CCC’s section on “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive forgive those who trespass against us.”:

. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

2842 This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."139 It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.141

2843 Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end,142 become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."143 It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies,144 transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God’s compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.145

2845 There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness,146 whether one speaks of “sins” as in Luke (11:4), “debts” as in Matthew (6:12). We are always debtors: "Owe no one anything, except to love one another."147 The communion of the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relation ship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.148

God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother. For God can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.149

Hope this helps! (Also, it may help to read the preceeding sections 2839-2841) God bless


Well, ML, thank you for believing in me! I shall try not to disappoint you and live up to your faith in my ability to reason. However, if i do fall short of your expectations, i hope you will be frank and correct me and explain how i will have erred:

It seems to me that what one person calls forgiveness, i call love. It’s not that i am wrong or the other person is wrong; it’s that we use different words to describe the same thing. “Forgiveness is a feeling, or perhaps a decision not to hold a grudge,” one person might tell me. However, is this not actually love of which she speaks?

Consider St. Paul’s description of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Being patient and kind to the person, keeping no record of the wrongs she did to me, and even always trusting the person who wronged me are all ways that i love someone within my mind. These might also be what you or someone else has in mind when he thinks of forgiveness. Love, however, is a more accurate word to describe these thoughts than forgiveness, i believe.

Reconciliation, however, is the goal to strive to attain when one wrongs me. It is to walk my own talk. Not even that, it is to do what i think. Reconciliation is living out the love that is within me. This is what i call forgiveness. It is one thing to think that i forgive someone. It is an entirely different thing to show i have forgiven someone through my words and deeds of keeping no record of wrongs and always trusting the person who wronged me.

Forgiveness to me is what i say and do, not what i think. What i think is love. Love is the reason i forgive. What i do are the results of what i think. Forgiveness (or reconciliation) are the results of love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

(John 13:34-35)

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

(1 John 3:18)


“But, Soc,” you might laugh, ML, “surely you are not so unwise to think that you should trust anyone no matter how she has wronged you, do you?” I admit i’d have to agree with you.

I once worked for an employer who had monthly discussion sessions where several employees would get together and discuss life’s issues. My boss said at one of these meetings that she was molested by her uncle when she was a child. She said she never told anyone and now he wants to spend time alone with her children. She said the Bible says she must forgive or God would not forgive her. My response, which i tried to give as gently and respectfully as i could, was that the Bible also says, “love … always protects”.

Yes, i can see the wisdom in this. However, i also see that forgiveness is the result of love within me that “keeps no record of wrongs” and “always trusts”.

Now, ML, i hope you will see what i am getting at, and if i have failed to live up to your idea of me, i hope you will not hold back for my sake but be brutally honest with me, for my sake. I have two questions, then:

*]Do you think i have spoken the truth about the meaning of forgiveness?
*]If forgiveness is taking action that shows that i am one who “keeps no record of wrongs” and “always trusts” then what conditions should a person meet before i treat her this way?[/LIST]


I think your very close to the mark here.

Think of the commands we have been given. To Love one another (including our enemies.) and to forgive one another (7x70 times and all that.)

I think the two our intimately related.

That said, sin has consequences. One of those consequences is a loss of trust.

As indicated in the Corinthians verse you cite, “love always trusts”, but I think the Love that never fails and the love in which we can always trust is the Love of God.

For we also know that all of us are going to make mistakes, sin.

It’s always been my inclination to give someone my trust until they prove themselves unworthy of that trust and then they need to earn it back. Some people take the opposite approach: Nobody’s worthy of trust until they prove themselves. Sometimes I think the later maybe the “less loving” but perhaps more prudent of the two options.

If someone has a sinful habit, it’s hard to break. It’s not “unloving” to protect ourselves (and others) from those sinful habits of others of which we become aware.

The more sinful (and the more clearly fixed in some ones disposition) a habit might be the greater the steps we should take to prevent that habit from damaging others while we lovingly work with our “neighbor” to help themselves out of that sinful habit.

To take and extreme example, it would be sinful and foolish to leave a known child molestor alone with your child in the name of “love”.

You can “forgive” that person and you can “love” that person without assuming that the sinful habit no longer has a hold on them.



Yes, Katie, it does. Your Lord and mine taught us to prayForgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.(Matthew 6:12)Which brings to mind something extremely interesting that i would like to share with you.

IfA = How God forgivesand B = How we forgivethen isn’t Jesus saying that you and i should pray this?A = Bor B = AThat is, i think He was teaching us to pray, “Forgive us, God, in the same way we forgive others” or “Use the same method we use to forgive one another when you forgive us, Father” or “Whatever conditions you require people to meet before we forgive them, require us to meet the same conditions before you forgive us.”

What do you think?


Yes, Chuck, that makes sense! :thumbsup: In fact, one might even make a good case that the most loving thing one might do, in certain circumstances, is to not trust a person who has not earned that trust.

The question, then, is what must a person, who once having lost your trust, have to do before he can regain your trust? What condition must he meet before you should trust him once again?


I have to go, but i will check back to read your responses. Thank you, everyone, for your answers to my questions!



You typed two posts with of text and I still don’t know what you think the difference between them are. Too many words that didn’t say anything.

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