There is a misconception about forgiveness. There always is. Many in the Church say there isn’t a lot on the topic; yet there is. Many think that forgiveness just means restoration and reconciliation; yet this too is a fallacy. Forgiveness yes restores one with the Father; however, there is much otherwise that it does not mean or do. So the question is: does forgiveness automatically mean restoration? Nope.
I used to believe it did. I used to think that once I forgave someone or someone forgave me that the relationship would be restored and all would be good. Makes sense right? That is until I came across Psalm 85. Then I saw what I believed for too long to be wrong. Check this out:
1You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
If you look closely in verse 1 it is clear that the fortunes of Jacob were restored. Got it. But keep reading. Stop at verse 4. Notice it was an ask for restoration. It is not automatic. It simply is not. You need to look no further although you really do.
See; when you forgive someone with an expectation of anything you are setting yourself up for something that perhaps you will not receive. Restoration is not automatic. I once was there thinking that forgiveness meant restoration and it was rather painful to be on the end of not receiving it. It was like purchasing a plane ticket and then learning that the ability to sit in the seat was a separate price.
If your relationships are not where you are expecting them to be through the process of forgiveness; it could be that you have not yet reached the level of restoration with the situation, the people; and the pain involved. Forgiveness is a process and so is restoration. They may come together but not always. Don’t trap yourself into expectations of anything other than being committed to the entire process for further fulfillment in your life.