Common Misconceptions about Forgiveness

Common Misconceptions about Forgiveness

Read Galatians 5:13-26

A few years ago I was working with a man whose wife had left him in hopes of restoring the
marriage. To keep a long story short, he had acknowledged that he was responsible for many of
their problems through his own pride and selfishness, and was committed to doing his part in
reconciling. Over several months, it became apparent to all that his entire demeanor and way of
living was changing… for the better. Even his estranged wife commented to me how impressed
she was with his progress and indicated that she would be willing to meet with both of us to
discuss reconciliation.

To be entirely fair, he was not responsible for all of their problems; not by a long shot! She also
had problems with selfishness and pride, along with a great need to be “right” in every situation.
When we got together, the session went long; our hour together grew into 3 plus.

Finally, we
came to the part where both parties agreed that they would forgive one another and wipe the
slates clean while looking for constructive ways to resolve their remaining issues the following
week. As we were all getting up to leave, she stopped suddenly and turned to her husband and
said, “I hope you understand that even though I have forgiven you and wiped the slate clean, that
does not mean that there still won’t be repercussions.”

As it worked out, she was willing to give lip service to forgiveness, but she had no real intention of
ever forgiving him for anything. As a result, their marriage ended in divorce.

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