Can I truly forgive without reconciling with a person?
Yes. To forgive is not necessarily to reconcile although this is one of the goals of forgiving. Yet, reconciliation is not within only your power to grant. Reconciliation is a negotiation strategy between two or more people who come together again in mutual trust. If the other continues behaviors that are hurtful and if the person does not seem interested in changing those behaviors, then you can forgive but not reconcile, at least until the other shows signs of changing and is more trustworthy.
“I was hurt in a 5-year relationship and now I am hesitant to get into any other relationship. Does this lack of courage on my part suggest that I have not forgiven the one who hurt me?”
The issue here seems to be one of a lack of trust. You may or may not have forgiven the one with whom you were in a relationship for the 5 years. Even if you have completely forgiven, you still may lack trust and this is not a sign of unforgiveness. It is a sign that you know hurt is possible when you commit to others. Forgiveness can help with taking the risk and at the same time your using common sense in the new relationship, along with sincere acts of trustworthiness by the other, should help to slowly create a trust with the new person.
What do you recommend in this situation. My friend has been deeply hurt by an employer. Yet, the friend refuses to speak with me about this. She, in other words, is not trusting anyone with her thoughts and feelings about this. What can I do?
The best you can do right now is to unconditionally love your friend. Her internal wounds are too new for her to talk. Being there as a support for her, even if she says nothing, may increase her trust. When she is ready, she will talk with you.
For additional information, see All You Need is Love.
I am trying to forgive my sister. I was very angry with her. Unfortunately, I dumped my anger on her and now she has to forgive me for doing this. What do you suggest?
It is common in close relationships that both people may have to forgive the other at the same time. There is nothing wrong with this. A key is this: Please keep in mind that each of you may be at a different point in the forgiveness process. For example, you may be very ready to forgive her, but she is still too angry to consider forgiving you. In a situation like this, I recommend that you go as deeply as you can in forgiving her and, at the same time, apologize to your sister for “dumping” your anger onto her. Your apologizing may aid her process of forgiving.
For additional information, see Forgiveness Is a Choice.
I had a close friend group. Because of Quarantine our friendship got strained. All of the friends, except for me, are getting into college, transition to their next stage of life. I have always felt like a burden and worthless compared to them. So, being friends with them made me feel like I had worth. We now have had some conflicts and I hurt one of the friends who cannot get past the conflict, even though I apologized. She does not believe I have grown, even though I have. What can I do?
I recommend four approaches:
1) Please reflect on the fact that you have inherent (built-in) worth no matter your state in life. Your friends are not more important than you are just because they are going to college. You all share the fact that each of you is special, unique, and irreplaceable;
2) Your apologizing is a very good first step. Congratulations for doing this. It now is time for some patience. Sometimes others are not ready to receive our apologies just yet and so we have to wait for a while;
3) If your friend continues to say that you “have not grown,” you could begin to forgive her for this incorrect judgement;
4) Once you have forgiven her for this, you might consider re-approaching her with this: You already have shown remorse or inner sorrow. You already had repented as seen in your apology. Is there anything else she thinks that she needs from you now so that her trust toward you can become re-established?
If you engage in these four approaches, it is my hope that your friendship with her and with your group will occur.
For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.