• W. Austin Gardner

What Is Forgiveness Not?


Forgiveness is not circumventing God’s justice.…

— It is allowing God to execute His justice in His time and in His way.


Forgiveness is not waiting for “time to heal all wounds.” …

— It is clear that time doesn’t heal wounds—some people will not allow healing.


Forgiveness is not letting the guilty “off the hook.” …

— It is moving the guilty from your hook to God’s hook.


Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.…

— It takes two for reconciliation, only one for forgiveness.


Forgiveness is not excusing unjust behavior.…

— It is acknowledging that unjust behavior is without excuse, while still forgiving.


Forgiveness is not explaining away the hurt.…

— It is working through the hurt.


Forgiveness is not based on what is fair.…

— It was not “fair” for Jesus to hang on the cross—but He did so that we could be forgiven.


Forgiveness is not being a weak martyr.…

— It is being strong enough to be Christlike.


Forgiveness is not stuffing your anger.…

— It is resolving your anger by releasing the offense to God.


Forgiveness is not a natural response.…

— It is a supernatural response, empowered by God.


Forgiveness is not denying the hurt.…

— It is feeling the hurt and releasing it.


Forgiveness is not being a doormat.…

— It is seeing that, if this were so, Jesus would have been the greatest doormat of all!


Forgiveness is not conditional.…

— It is unconditional, a mandate from God to everyone.


Forgiveness is not forgetting.…

— It is necessary to remember before you can forgive.


Forgiveness is not a feeling.…

— It is a choice—an act of the will.


June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Forgiveness: The Freedom to Let Go (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 3–4.

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