Is Forgiveness Without an Apology Really Forgiveness?

Is forgiveness without an apology [really] forgiveness?

Someone recently found this blog by typing that question into a search engine.

I know I’ve mentioned this here before but the answer is yes. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing.

At the bare minimum reconciliation requires an apology, a commitment to change and stitching your relationship – professional, romantic,  platonic or otherwise –  back together. In short, it’s something that can only happen if everyone participates. Reconciliation is a beautiful act…but it’s never guaranteed to happen.

One can forgive someone without being given an apology because it’s not about them or what they did anymore. Instead it’s about allowing yourself to walk away from the cycle of harm.

And even with forgiveness the person who harmed you still has to face the consequences of his or her actions – legal troubles (in extreme cases), the erosion of trust, a relationship that may or may not overcome whatever has just happened.

Often forgiveness is the first step to restoring things to the way they used to be.

Sometimes people forgive and the relationship continues with a few additional boundaries in place.

And every once in a great while a person will forgive without allowing for the possibility of reconciliation. I’ve only ever had to exercise this option once but it was the best choice for that situation.


What do you think? Have you ever struggled with differentiating between forgiveness and reconciliation? What have been your experiences with forgiving someone who never apologized?




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  1. Pingback: Should You Forgive Someone Who Has Anger Issues? | On The Other Hand

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