Guest Post by Anne Jackson: Forgiveness and Reconciliation

The following is a guest blog from Anne Jackson, author, speaker and and social change activist – Nashville, TN

I never thought there was much difference between reconciliation and forgiveness. In my heart, it all kind of meant the same thing – letting go of pain that someone had inflicted on me. Usually this involved some type of “making up” process involving apologies, sometimes tears, and a hug to make everything alright.

Twelve years ago, somebody hurt me in a very painful, inexcusable way. For years, I didn’t allow myself to work through the pain as I needed to. A couple of years ago, circumstances (which were mostly out of my control) caused me to stare at this wound square in the face.

As strange as it sounds, I’ve never doubted that I forgave this person. I feel fortunate that, for the most part, forgiveness comes easy to me. There are probably only two situations in my life where I know I still need to work on forgiving someone, but this particular hurt isn’t one of them.

However, as I was processing through healing during this time, I began questioning if i really had forgiven this person. Sure, the scabs had been peeled off and the wounds were fresh – and it hurt…badly, all over again.

Someone who was helping me through this sent me an email. He encouraged me and said that what I was experiencing wasn’t me being bitter or holding on (which was what I was afraid I was doing) but that I was desiring reconciliation.

I wanted for this person to own up to the mistake and for everything – painful as it would be – to be okay again.

And I wanted for the relationship to be harmonized and restored completely.

Later, I read this in a book:

Joseph was reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt in search of grain. By the time his brothers reached Egypt, he was able to stand before them and confront them because he had no inner feelings that would keep him from having a relationship of unity and peace with them.

Forgiveness is unilateral. You can forgive even if [someone] never admits [their wrong doing], is never sorry, and never changes. But reconciliation requires both people’s commitment to recovery, honesty, repentance, forgiveness, and communication. Even then, reconciliation is a long and difficult process of breaking down barriers and building trust.

You may not ever be reconciled with a person that hurt you (or that you hurt).

That part takes both people to work through.

Forgiveness is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for reconciliation.

However, forgiveness is a decision that you make, and continue to make, regardless of the other person’s choice.

And through the cross and grace and love, you can.


I thought I’d follow-up my posts on impotent preaching by calling out one more person: myself. As I’ve traveled the country the last 9 years speaking, teaching, consulting and meeting with Church leaders, one thing I’ve found myself saying over and over to people that ask about my ministry and my personal thoughts about how God is using me – “God uses weak people.”

When you think about it and study Scripture, it’s pretty obvious, but it truly still amazes me. I’m the most weak, screwed up, unworthy person I can think of. As Paul said, I do believe I’m the “chief of sinners”. I struggle with many things, I could definitely be a better husband, father, friend, pastor, person, etc. My flesh is weak and my body is weak with numerous health issues.Â

I struggle with weight/living a healthy lifestyle. I struggle with anxiety and take medicine for it. I struggle with depression and take medicine for it. I have other medical issues which I won’t share on here, but believe me, more medicine is involved. I sleep in a drug-induced sleep and can not even begin to tell you how hard it is to wake up in the morning.Â

When my tech team gathers at 7am on Sunday mornings (meaning I have to get up at 6am) – it is the hardest struggle to be there and be on time. Waking up for me (coming out of the drug-induced sleep) is very difficult – it’s like waking from a coma.Â

I love flying West and speaking because I get more sleep. When I fly to the East Coast, I really struggle with waking up (as my friends and hosts in Atlanta, South Carolina and Boston can testify to).Â

My moods and emotions are all over the map. I bounce from high to low and when I crash, I really crash. Only my family, a few close friends and my therapist really know the depth of my struggles.Â

Why do I share? Because I love to brag on God and testify to his grace and mercy. God truly uses weak people. One of my favorite lines in a worship song is from “Your Grace is Enough”. The second verse says “You use the weak to lead the strong.” I don’t understand why that is. I just watch as it happens.Â

I thank God for his unconditional love, amazing grace and mercy that is new every morning. My first-born child is named Grace because I could think of no better name considering my past and my struggles.Â

I boast in Christ and will continue to until my last breath. Friends, if you’re struggling with depression… if you’re struggling with anxiety… whatever you struggle with – hear me: you’re not alone. God is faithful. Surround yourself with people you trust that can pour into you, lift you up when you’re down and bear your burdens with you.

For me, personally, I want to be a friend to you as well. If you struggle, email me. Also contact, share with and follow friends and people that also understand like DJ Chuang, Anne Jackson and Rhett Smith. They are great people who blog regularly about issues like this and truly understand the challenges that many are faced with. You are not alone!