We hear so much talk about what forgiveness is, but have you ever thought about the things forgiveness is not? Let’s take a little time to look at what forgiveness does not mean. There are so many misconceptions about what forgiveness is and those misconceptions could be keeping you from living a peaceful life.
If you have been reluctant to forgive someone, it’s likely because of some of the misconceptions we are about to discuss. Clearing up these untruths might help you get one step closer to letting go of the pain associated with unforgiveness.
This site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website at no extra cost to you.
What are some common misconceptions about forgiveness?
It is important to take a closer look at the untruths surrounding forgiveness, especially if you are on the fence about forgiving someone. These things may make it more difficult for you to let things go and move on with your life.
Discover Counseling lists these 5 myths and states they often keep us bitter:
- Forgiveness is unnecessary
- Forgiveness is approval
- Forgiveness is forgetting
- Forgiveness is reconciliation
- Forgiveness is instant
Myths like these make it difficult for you to let go of whatever feelings you have against someone. Here are some additional things to consider about forgiveness:
1. Forgiveness is not condoning someone’s wrong behavior
When people do things that are wrong or hurtful, it is tough to forgive them. One reason is the misconception that forgiving someone means that you’re condoning their behavior. Forgiving someone does not mean that you excuse bad behavior or that you agree with what the person has done.
Making the decision to forgive someone helps you to move past the hurt and possibly gain closure. It is important to remember that forgiveness is for you and not for the other person. It allows you to release the feelings of grief and anger and ultimately frees you from the pain associated with the action.
2. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness
It takes a lot of courage and strength to forgive. It also takes a lot of faith. When you make the decision to forgive, you are not being weak and you’re not being a pushover.
In my blog, 5 Tips for True Forgiveness vs. Being a Doormat, I specifically about how you can forgive someone without being a doormat.
3. Forgiveness is not letting someone get away with their actions
Don’t feel like you let someone get away with their actions just because you forgave them. You can be forgiving and understanding and still hold them accountable for their actions. Letting go of hard feelings does not excuse inappropriate behavior and should not be viewed as such.
Your decision to forgive someone does not mean that you are letting them get away with the behavior. You are simply making the decision not to let the negative feelings associated with the action keep you from living your best life.
4. Forgiveness is not giving up
Forgiveness does not mean giving up. It simply means that we choose to let go enough that the anger, pain, and fear no longer paralyzes us. Don’t feel like you’re giving up on yourself just because you make the decision to forgive someone.
When you forgive, it helps you to move on with your life. It doesn’t mean that you’re giving in and suddenly going along with everything the other person does.
5. Forgiveness is not an automatic restoration of trust
Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean that you have to trust them again. Eventually, you may be able to trust the person again, but it doesn’t have to be immediate. Healing takes time; it’s a slow process.
Forgiving someone does not automatically restore the trust that you had with someone. In fact, you may even find it difficult to allow that person to get close to you again.
Unforgiveness can wreak havoc in your life. It can cause you extra stress and pain, which can negatively affect other areas of your life. Don’t let misconceptions about forgiveness keep you from releasing the burden of unforgiveness. When you let go of resentment, you’re showing that you understand that no one is perfect. We all mess up from time to time. When you forgive, you are showing that you recognize the hurt but, you are still willing to move forward and focus on the positive.