The Bible encourages us to forgive. However, it doesn’t not tell us to reconcile. The Bible encourages us to forgive in numerous verses. Some of the most famous verses include:
Colossians 3:13 NIV
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Luke 6:37 NIV
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Romans 12:20 NIV
I believe that your life must will be blessed through forgiving others. Would you like to choose to forgive for the benefit of others? Maybe your decision can bring an opportunity of redemption for others
But what exactly does forgiveness mean? Merriam Dictionary defines forgiveness as:
This is very different from reconciliation. According to the Merriam Dictionary Reconciliation is:
1a : to restore to friendship or harmony <reconciled the factions>b : settle, resolve <reconcile differences>
2: to make consistent or congruous <reconcile an ideal with reality>
3: to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant <was reconciled to hardship>
4a : to check (a financial account) against another for accuracyb : to account for
There is a big difference! This should be clarified. In my post about cutting people off I discuss reconciling with enemies. However, it should be mentioned that sometimes we need to forgive our enemies and then go back and reconcile with them at a later time.
To forgive someone is to let go of the pain that they have caused you. It is to stop thinking about whatever they have done that has offended you. Forgiving a person does not require you to reconcile with them. However, I do believe that the two should eventually occur if you have an issue with someone. Forgiveness and Reconciliation are exclusive.
You can forgive a person for an offense and not reconcile with them until years later. It can also be argued that it takes one person can forgive, but it takes two people to reconcile. If one person is willing but the other is not there can be no reconciliation. In order for reconciliation to occur the people involved need to have a discussion about what happened. However, it only takes one person to forgive. You can decide by yourself to forgive a person without them being present or having a say in it.
Reconciliation after a disagreement is best for both parties involved. Even if the other person is totally in the wrong when you do not reconcile you are carrying an intangible baggage. You end up suffering even more.
Is there someone you have forgiven but you haven’t reconciled with?