Forgiveness is tricky, isn’t it? We frequently confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. We think that forgiving someone means that all is right, all is restored, and the wrong done is no longer wrong. Pretty much none of that is correct. In the first place, reconciliation is really the sum of two separate and independent parts. One part is repentance: being sorry for what you have done. The other part is forgiveness: releasing the anger, resentment, and possession of the wrong that has been done. Neither of these is dependent on the other. You can be forgiven even if you never feel sorry for it. You can be sorry for what you have done and never receive forgiveness. It doesn’t make the power of either of the parts any less. It isn’t easy to do one without the other, but that’s probably why they are listed as acts of mercy. It is when both of these happen together that any kind of reconciliation can happen. It doesn’t mean that the wrong never happened; it doesn’t mean that everything is forgotten. It does mean that a place for healing has been offered and accepted. I just hope we don’t miss the power of each part by focusing on the value of their combination.