When we forgive someone for something they've done to us, is that supposed to erase all the problems between us? I've truly forgiven a friend for the deep hurt she caused me, but I can't pretend it never happened or resume our friendship the way it once was. Am I wrong to feel this way? — Mrs. M.D.
We need to forgive those who have hurt us; if we don't, our anger or hurt will become like a festering wound in our minds and souls. This is one reason why the Bible urges us to "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
But sometimes our forgiveness is misunderstood by the other person, or even rejected. After all, when we forgive someone, we are forgiving them for something they did wrong - and they may not be willing to admit this. Or they may think we're trying to manipulate them or make them treat us better. This is why we need to focus on our own attitudes and forgive them in our hearts - whether they accept our forgiveness or not.
However, even if they do accept our forgiveness, it's hard to have the same relationship we once had. Do you remember Jacob and his brother Esau in the Old Testament? Jacob wronged Esau, and eventually sought his forgiveness. Esau graciously accepted it - but their relationship wasn't close and they went their separate ways (see Genesis 33:16-17).
One of the Bible's greatest truths, however, is that this isn't true with God! When we come to Christ, our sins are forgiven and our relationship is restored - completely and fully. Have you committed your life to Him?