One reason we resist forgiving is that we do not really understand what forgiveness is or how it works. We think we do, but we don’t. Most of us assume that if we forgive our offenders, they are let off the hook. We also may think that we have to be friendly with them again, or go back to the old relationship. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us. The first step to understanding forgiveness is learning what it is and is not. The next step is giving yourself permission to forgive and forget, letting go of the bitterness while remembering very clearly your rights to healthy boundaries. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it does not obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you. When you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It might take some time to work through our emotional problems before we can truly forgive. As soon as we can, we should decide to forgive, but it probably is not going to happen right after a tragic event.