Wikis > Reconciliation

To be reconciled means to restore to friendship and harmony. Many people confuse reconciliation with forgiveness.

 Now, if a person hurts you and you feel distant from them and you don’t trust them then you need reconciliation if you want your relationship to go back to where it was.

 This reconciliation requires that the person who hurts you regains your trust. Usually this occurs if the person is sincerely sorry for what they did and shows intention to improve. This requires discernment and often takes some time to occur. The person’s past behavior and track record is important since just expressing sorrow and promising to improve will not work if they have a history of broken promises. In a case like that reconciliation will not occur until the person proves their sincerity. For example, they may agree to submit to a spiritual director or agree to go to counseling.

 This process should not be confused with forgiveness. Forgiveness is an inward act of releasing a person. It does not depend on reconciliation and in fact must be granted even if there is no reconciliation.

 Put another way, reconciliation is conditional and forgiveness is unconditional.

 Forgiveness helps you, not them. It releases your heart and prevents “a root of bitterness” from arising within you and corroding your spirit. If they respond to your forgiveness with repentance then it will help them and it will allow for reconciliation, but it they don’t repent then they are not helped by your forgiveness. Of course if you pray for them then God will help them, but only to bring them to repentance. Merely forgiving a person does not mean that God forgives them and is finished dealing with them. They must respond to God on their own whether you forgive them or not.

 One more thing: just because you forgive them from the heart does not mean that you will not continue to feel hurt or angry or vengeful. The feeling within you does not condemn you. Acting on that feeling by gossip or rude behavior is what condemns you. That does not mean you have to pretend you are reconciled. Instead it means that you should say to them that you forgive them but until they repent you will not trust them and you are not yet reconciled to them.