You can extend forgiveness to those who are no longer living – but you cannot reconcile with them. You can extend forgiveness to someone who is no longer in your life and never will be again, but you cannot reconcile with them. You can extend forgiveness to someone who hurt you or abused you – but you do not have to allow that person in your life again to hurt or abuse you more. Forgiveness sets you free. Forgiveness lets you remove the pain you carry inside of you that you feel was done by another’s wrongdoing. The other person need not admit the wrongdoing. The other person need not make amends. The other person need not do anything. Forgiveness is something done inside of yourself, to release you from the pain of the wrongdoing. Forgiveness releases your need for revenge. Vengeance is counterproductive to healing. Revenge is never as sweet as we believe it will be, and vengeance serves no purpose. When anger subsides, the need for vengeance fades, and any action taken in the name of revenge is action you will probably find you need to forgive yourself for – or will have to ask for forgiveness for, at some point. It is important, however, to understand the difference between justice and vengeance. To forgive, you must let go of your desire for vengeance. However, forgiveness does not mean letting go of your right for justice. From “Forgiveness – the Gift You Give Yourself” http://voices.yahoo.com/forgiveness-gift-give-yourself-84466.html?cat=5
To forgive is to set a prisoner free
and discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes