Forgiveness Does Not Require Abandoning…..Resentment……..Is This True?

What is resentment? It is the harboring of persistent ill will.

What is forgiveness? It is mercy on those who have been unfair to us.

ResentmentThere is a contradiction if we have persistent ill will and say that we have forgiven.

There is no contradiction if we are in the process of forgiveness and have resentment, as long as we realize that one of our goals is the abandonment of that resentment.

There is no contradiction if we have some residual anger after we have forgiven, as long as that anger is not harsh toward the offender or toxic within ourselves.

Residual anger is not the same as resentment.

We have to be careful not to equate residual (non-toxic) anger and resentment. Otherwise, we pat ourselves on the back in the name of forgiveness when we are still poisoning ourselves and perhaps others.Resentment hurts you not them

We have to be careful not to equate forgiveness and a total absence of any anger whatsoever. Otherwise, we might condemn ourselves and feel guilt because we think we have not forgiven when we have.

A little anger left over is part of the imperfect human condition. Yes, we can continue to forgive, but we need not expect perfection today.


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Categories: Anger, Our Forgiveness Blog, What Forgiveness is


  1. Abbie says:

    These distinctions are so very helpful to me. Resentment and a little anger are as night and day. It is good to remember that and so not let resentment see the light of day in my heart and mind. I have work to do.

  2. Josh says:

    Thank you for the clarification. Some anger is ok. I will definitely try to watch the more intense variety. How do we know when we have crossed that line to unhealthy anger?

  3. Samantha says:

    How do we know when we have crossed the line to unhealthy anger? I usually ask myself how I am doing inside. If I am constantly agitated, constantly tired, then I need to look at my anger. Usually in these circumstances my anger has been on high for too long. When I see that it could start to bring me down, then I pull back and start my forgiveness exercises.

  4. Blaine says:

    Yes, forgiveness requires the abandonment of resentment. Look at the mischief that can be perpetrated on those who have perpetrated injustice on us if we nurture our resentment. It must go if we are to say that we have forgiven.

  5. Tesch says:

    Holding forgiveness and resentment together in one’s heart at the same time is contradictory. It is not contradictory only if one realized that forgiveness is there to do away with the resentment.


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