Every day I am so thankful to serve a God who is so gracious and forgiving of my immeasurable amount of sin. I never have to worry that He will turn away from me, or deny me His tender loving-kindness. There is absolutely no limit to the amount of times He will forgive me, and you. What a precious gift.Forgiveness is such a great act of mercy. It goes against our natural human tendency. Our flesh loves to hold on to the painful words our family, friends, or even strangers spoke carelessly to us. Their words ring in our ears and in our minds for days, months, and often times years. We replay them over and over in our heads, and anger toward them stirs in our hearts. We hold grudges, we speak ill of those who hurt us, and we stick up our noses until we are offered and apology. But God has called us to ceaseless, enduring forgiveness that models His.However, a choice does come into play when considering reconciliation with those who have hurt us. Jesus never commands us to remain in relationships with those who have caused us pain. He only calls us to forgive them. Forgiveness is a decision that you make each and every day, regardless of the other persons actions or choices. Reconciliation is to restore harmony and unity to the relationship. Simply put, you cannot have reconciliation without forgiveness. But you can have forgiveness without reconciliation.I have struggled with the idea of reconciliation through out my life.I attribute this to a lot of what I went through as a child and a teenager, and even now as a young woman. I was sexually abused by my own father for ten years of my life, and as a result experienced a string of painful relationships with men.My fault laid in believing things would change, putting my hope in men instead of God, and putting myself in harmful situations- all in the name of forgiveness. I did not understand that when trust is uprooted, and deeply broken, reconciliation is a slow and lengthy process. But the most important thing I missed was this:I don’t have to heal my relationship with this person. They hurt me badly. And it is not wrong for me to let go of them.Dear friends, you are never required to remain in a relationship with someone who hurt you, wether it be emotional or physical. You arerequired to forgive them, for your sake. Release yourself through the liberating act of forgiveness. Forgiveness protects your heart from bitterness, that roots itself deep within you. Protecting yourself is a completely Godly and biblical thing to do. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.This is a principle that applies to everyone, but for a minute I want to address just the women. Ladies, hear me when I say that you are God’s beloved daughter. He is so very in love with you and He wants the absolute best for you. It is God’s will for you to be cherished, treasured, adored, and loved. You deserve a man who knows how much you are worth, and treats you in a God-honoring way, even when he gets angry.The man God has for you will know what an amazing blessing you are and every word he says to you will reflect his absolute love for Christ, and love for you. Don’t settle on anything less. You are worth it.I want to mention one last thing: forgiveness involves going beyond yourself. For a moment, take a look past the pain that person caused you, and consider their spiritual well-being. Maybe they said something to you that should never come out of the mouth of someone who says they love God. Maybe they spread rumors. Maybe they lied. No matter what they did, forgiving them means to pardon their sin, and pray for them.Trust me, I know this is so very hard. But when you lay down your anger toward them and humbly ask God to forgive them too, He is so pleased with you.Plead with the Lord for them. Pray that they would see their sin and come to repentance before God. Their relationship with Christ carries a greater weight than their relationship with you. Sometimes, you have to just to let them go. This is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but trust that God is perfectly able, and will do a better job at taking care of them than you ever could.Oh, one more thing! Let each and every experience, good or bad, be a lesson to you. Take it and learn from it. Be the best person you can be. Don’t let someone else’s choices hold you back. Don’t let them change you. Do everything with so much love in your heart, that you would never do it any other way. When life is sweet, thank God and celebrate. When life is bitter, thank God and grow.Have a heart that never hardens.