What does it mean to forgive?

I have recently eliminated a person from my life whom i considered toxic for me. She used to criticize everything i do, tried all the time to convince me that i am unhappy, that people don’t like me. She tried to convince me i don’t love my husband and that i miss my first boyfriend. When pregnant she criticized all my decisions about my pregnancy and when i gave birth she criticized all my decisions as a mother. That was the moment i decided the relationship with my child is more important and that i can’t let her damage it. So i let her know that i can’t be her friend anymore. I don’t have any bad feeling towards her but i feel she has been toxic. That i am extremely happy with my life and that if i was sad it was because of her.

Did i made a sin by refusing to be her friend anymore? Does forgiving means i have to continue being her friend or is it that i am not angry with what she did but continue my life.

You can forgive someone without continuing with a toxic relationship. You do not have to let her back into your life. To forgive means not holding any negative feelings or resentment against the person and this can be done from a distance.

I was expecting to hear this was your mom. What a relief to hear it’s just a friend!

In short your obligation is to love and forgive them regardless of how they feel about you or treat you. Remember that forgiveness is a decision and not the warm and fuzzies. The warm and fuzzies can be an symptom of love but they are not in themselves love. You decide to forgive them as much as you can at this moment because that is what you know the Lord wants you to do. He can take this offering and perfect it over time.

You make the conscious decision to love and forgive them and then you pray for them. Again praying for them may not feel good or even sincere at first but that doesn’t matter! I call it praying through clenched teeth. What does matter is that you are bending you will to the Lord’s because that is what He wants you to do!

No, that was not a sin. I think somewhere in the Scriptures (letters of Paul?) it says we should keep good company and avoid those who work against our faith, virtue, and love.

In your situation, forgiveness means first of all to set aside resentment, blame, and pride.

If catch yourself getting upset with self-centered thoughts like “How could she do that to me?” or “She offended me,” see if you can turn it around towards love. Can you transform that into “I am worried about her,” or “I hope she someday becomes a more loving person”? Try to remember it’s not all about you and your feelings of injury, but she also must be injured or broken. Pray for her. Pray that God will heal her and provide for her spiritual needs.

If you happen to see her, treat her with respect and kindness, but don’t take it upon yourself to keep her company or solve her problems.

If you hear others talking about her, or if you talk with others about her, speak with charity (love, respect, kindness), speak well of her if you can do so truthfully, or else say nothing.

God bless you and your family.

To forgive means that the person does not owe you what they cost you by wronging you. If my brother borrows my car and speeds and wrecks it, I can forgive my brother, saying he does not have to pay me anything. It doesn’t mean I need to give him the keys to my car again.

I don’t agree with this at all…you can forgive someone and still hold them accountable for what they have done. If someone wrecked my car I would certainly forgive them, but expect them to make it right. If you choose to say “don’t worry about it, don’t fix the car” then that’s your choice. But my forgiveness doesn’t hinge on saying that.

So in what way are you forgiving them? If they are paying for the damages then you are out nothing so what is left to forgive?

You can forgive a person who crashed your car because of speeding, while still having an expectation that they will pay for the damage. If they refuse to pay for the damage, you have another matter on top of the first offence to forgive.

I think forgiveness is about getting through your possible resentment, anger and desire for revenge, and being able to will good for them.

Since this is a hypothetical situation, it would depend on the situation. Did they ask to take my car? If not, I can forgive them for taking my car without permission. Did they crash it because of reckless driving or carelessness? I can forgive them their lack of care with my expensive vehicle. Were they not at all sorry that they did this? I can forgive them their lack of repentance. Did they act like it was no big deal? I can forgive them their self-centered attitude.

Do I expect them to make restitution within all means possible? Certainly. You are not showing love by enabling bad behavior.

I’m still not seeing the forgiveness. Sounds more like self-righteousness. It seems like forgiveness in your eyes is only required when it costs you nothing. When God forgave us it didn’t mean just saying it. Jesus died on the cross in atonement for our sins. God didn’t forgive but say it was only if we made things right first.

In this hypothetical, if your brother didn’t have the means to pay for the damages would you still hold him liable? Would forgiveness be doled out in monthly installments?

Forgiveness isn’t dependent on the other person. Repentance, atonement and restitution are the applicable concepts for the other person. Forgiveness is about you and your refusal to let the other person keep that corner in your mind that is keeping you from growing spiritually and moving forward temporally.

For the other person, your forgiveness (or God’s forgiveness, for that matter) does not absolve that person from the temporal consequences of their sin. That guy wrecked your car, you can forgive him, but that doesn’t absolve him of the consequences of having wrecked your car. E.g., his injuries, his insurance rates, his out of pocket expenses, his time in jail if he was arrested for drunk driving, the black mark on his driving record, your loss of trust in him, etc.

In the case of the OP, her forgiveness is about her moving on without her former friend. It doesn’t absolve the friend from the temporal consequences of going against the OP, the main consequence being cut out of the OP’s life. The OP is under no obligation to ever take this person back.

Where did I say that forgiveness was “just saying it” ??? There is always a cost to forgiving…we have to die to ourselves in order to forgive when we have been wronged. My forgiving someone does not absolve them from whatever fallout their might be from their actions. That could be a variety of things…no repercussion at all if no serious damage was done, just hurt feelings…or their may be legal or financial ramifications. A spouse may decide they cannot remain married to an adulterous husband or wife. It is very judgmental to make an assumption that a person has not forgiven, because they followed through on a repercussion to someone’s bad behavior. How do you know what’s in their heart?

You are right. Sometimes there are ramifications that are not part of forgiveness. A wife may divorce an adulterous husband. She may also have forgiven him prior. However, that example fits exactly in the same vein as not letting a brother drive your car again. Legal ramifications are decided by the state. If the law is broken then it isn’t my place to deny justice. You also never answered if your forgiveness is dependent on restitution or not. By saying the person must pay you back, that is not forgiving them. There is no need to magically detect what is in your heart. It’s that simple. That’s exactly why forgiveness is so difficult. Now, I’m not saying it wouldn’t be right for the offending party to make restitution. It would be very good indeed. But it isn’t a requirement of forgiveness.

This is interesting.

I don’t know how you came up with this logic though, but it is quite interesting.

I don’t believe it is an either/or situation. Either you forgive me and pay me back or you are not forgiven! I believe it is a both/and situation. Both events can occur at the same time, you can forgive someone for a wrongdoing and ask them to pay you back for any monetary debt that may have incurred because of it. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Just because I forgive someone for causing me harm does not obligate me to take on financial burdens that I may not be able to afford. I can forgive the person for the act and still ask for financial restitution. You probably disagree though but it makes for interesting conversation. God bless.

To the original poster: God bless you and thank you for coming here and sharing your story. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. You can forgive someone but not have them a part of your everyday life. Just as victims of crime may forgive their attackers they are not obligated to invite them over for lunch.

I thought I did answer your question. We are all called to forgive…so yes, I would forgive. This does not necessarily mean I won’t expect my brother to make things right with the car.

And if he doesn’t then is he still forgiven?

I agree. There is a difference between justice and forgiveness. If you break my window I can forgive you but I still want you to fix my window. Jesus forgives us our sins but there are still obligations and worldly consequences to deal with. We are called to repent and atone for the wrong we do.

Trust God to put someone in your life who will be more encouraging. Sometimes letting go of someone who is harming your well being is brave. Maybe your ex-friend will take the time to reflect on their behavior. To forgive means to have no ill will towards them and to wish them peace with all your heart. It is to not hold any resentment. In other words, wish them love…even if they are undeserving.

It is the release of the person from* liability* for an offense.

Mathew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

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