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The Misinterpretation Of Forgiveness

Stock Snap; Pixabay

Just as the title of this states, I went through a large majority of my life, without ever knowing the full details behind everything related to forgiveness. I hadn’t learned much about it in my life. I actually only started doing the real learning, when I was the one causing pain and sorrow unto others.

It’s been my many past mistakes and reckless choices that have been blessings in disguise in many ways. First, they created a life where a gateway seemed to unlock. An opening that put me face to face with remorse, and pain. With all that toxicity came some constructive lessons. I knew not nearly as much about forgiving beforehand, as I do now. While it is certainly not a lesson to be learned overnight, it’s still a lesson nonetheless. The fact that it takes longer to manifest, only adds to its strength and resilience.

Forgiveness is often misinterpreted and misunderstood in its definition and meaning. I do believe that most of us do understand the very basic purpose of forgiveness. However, what I also believe is that a majority of people just don’t understand everything that forgiveness is not.

We put a lot of incorrect assumptions into the goal and mission of being forgiven. But that is only the very beginning of a potentially long phase and it’s the next steps, that aren’t familiar.

Jclk8888; Pixabay

My years of addiction caused my world to involve forgiveness on all levels, from all kinds of people.

It was a hard lesson, all the way from day one. But I never imagined that more difficulty was still a long way off from even happening. Far away, but definitely on the map.

From as many situations and people as possible, I tried my best to ask for forgiveness and show remorse for the mistakes I’ve made, and the hurt I caused them. I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have very gracious, and forgiving people in my life. When I’ve been truly remorseful, loved ones have seen my truth. It was a several year period where life was on a roller coaster. Everyone’s hurt — was their own pain. Something I couldn’t fix. It was all about a pace in time, that only they could set.

It was not my place to argue my case, or set their pace.

Forgiveness is a choice people work through to overcome hurt, to let go of broken hearts, shame, negative emotions, anger, and painful feelings from destroyed trust. I never realized until recently that forgiveness could still mean goodbye. After all, I assumed forgiveness was an instant clean slate. I was wrong at that. Remember the phrase, “forgiven, not forgotten.”

It was still either the end of a process, or it was just step one, of a two step process that had yet to happen. If a remorseful person’s end goal is to have active peace in a renewed relationship, then forgiveness alone is not what that person needs. The mistake maker still has work to do. And what is that?

There is another word, found deeper in this process. It was a word called Reconciliation. This was the real last step of forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness is not about renewing relationships or friendships.

Geralt; Pixabay

Forgiveness is a letting go for both sides. A removal of that specific injustice, an elimination of the ball and chain of pain. But that is it — to retry, and renew a bond or relationship — that is not forgiveness. That would be to reconcile, not always pursued, but a huge blessing when it’s given a chance. Many times people are forgiven, but then never seen again. Forgiveness most certainly, can mean goodbye.

Reconciliation is a true forgetting of the pain. Letting go of the terrible act. Or vengeful feelings. A desire to no longer carry a grudge. An ending that’s positive. To be forgiven, is to wash away one thing specifically. It’s to say that “we’re good, but we’re done.” To reconcile, is to say we’re good, and our friendship is again alive and well.”

A valuable lesson for me, only learned through the very dark times in my life: I’m not happy for my mistakes, but I do see understanding reconciliation as a huge blessing, and a necessity for my future. I live with remorse, and regret.

I Accept the fact while most have forgiven me, only some have reconciled.

Consider these words of mine, if you’re in a world involving forgiveness.

Michitogo; Pixabay

Michael Patanella

is a Trenton, New Jersey Author, Publisher, Columnist, Editor, Advocate, and recovering addict, covering topics of mental health, addiction, sobriety, mindfulness, self-help, faith, spirituality, Smart Recovery, social advocacy, and countless other nonfiction topics. His articles, publications, memoirs, and stories are geared towards being a voice for the voiceless. Hoping to reach others out there still struggling.




Storymaker is back in business and shining brighter than ever! We hope to see you soon. Anna Rozwadowska, Owner and Editor in Chief, and our editors.

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Michael Patanella

Michael Patanella

Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things.

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