Tagged: “reconciliation”

I am back with my boyfriend after several months of being apart.  I am apprehensive, not trusting much, because of his past hurts.  Have I reconciled, I mean truly reconciled, if I cannot trust yet?

Being together does not necessarily mean that you are reconciled.  Reconciliation includes trust, but trust is earned back inch-by-inch. Does your boyfriend show you signs that he has remorse (sadness for what he did)?  Does he show repentance (saying he is sorry)?  Does he engage in recompense (behaviorally trying to make up for what he did and behaviorally showing he is trustworthy)?  Keep these three issues in mind (remorse, repentance, and recompense) as a way to build your trust so that you can achieve a true reconciliation.

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In your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you state that one purpose of forgiving is being open to reconciling with the other person.  I am assuming that you mean a receptivity to reconcile rather than an actual reconciliation as part of forgiving.  Is this correct?

Yes, that is correct.  As people forgive, they usually are open to reconciliation if and only if the other, who has been deeply hurtful, has changed.  So, the receptivity is more of an internal response at first, a waiting to see how the other changes.

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Why do you think that people just assume that you can be part of their life again once you forgive them?  To be honest, this kind of assumption annoys me.

I think people assume that they can be part of your life again, once you forgive them, because they are equating forgiving with reconciling.  As you probably know, one can forgive and not reconcile, especially when the offending other person refuses to change unjust and hurtful behavior.

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I am doing research on forgiveness as an idea in the heart of humanity.  In your own studies, what do you see as the earliest, ancient work that describes person-to-person forgiveness?

The oldest account of person-to-person forgiving that I have found is in the Hebrew Scriptures, in Genesis 37-45 in which Joseph forgives his 10 half-brothers for attempted murder and then selling him into slavery in Egypt.  Joseph ends up unconditionally forgiving them and providing provisions for the Hebrew nation that was suffering from famine.

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I am having difficulty with a former partner.  I have forgiven him (he asked me to forgive and I have).  I cannot go back to that situation because I really cannot trust him.  He keeps telling me that I have not forgiven.  If I genuinely have forgiven, he insists, then I would take him back.  How should I respond?

With a gentle and forgiving heart, you can discuss with him the difference between what forgiveness is (a moral virtue in which you are good to those who have been unfair to you) and reconciliation (which is not a moral virtue, but instead is a negotiation strategy in which two or more people come together again in mutual trust).  Again, with gentleness, you can point out that your trust has been deeply hurt by his actions and so you can offer forgiveness, but not reconciliation.  If he does not accept this or says anything hurtful to you about this, then this is another situation in which you can forgive.

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