Forgiveness. It's such an important part of life. And it's also an extremely difficult part of life—depending on what and whom we're trying to forgive.
My women's Bible study group has been studying the topic throughout Lent, and yesterday we talked about the connection between forgiveness and reconciliation. Perhaps you've always thought the two need to be connected. Many people do believe that.
Sometimes, perhaps even often, however, there is no possibility of reconciliation with the person who has wronged you or whom you have wronged. The other person may have died—or perhaps simply won't speak to you. That makes forgiveness difficult, but it's still just as important as ever. Perhaps even more so. You will forgive that person, not because it makes any difference to her or him, but because it sets you free. It is really unhealthy to carry around a load of grudges and grievances. What a heavy load. Far better to let it go.
The ideal, of course, is to reconcile with the other person at some point. But forgiveness can stand alone and be done even without the reconciliation piece of the equation. So don't wait for reconciliation to happen before you extend forgiveness. Do so no matter whether it's accepted by the other person or not. You will feel so much better, and your load will feel far lighter. All your relationships will benefit.