Forgiveness vs Acceptance: Pauline!

Old 09-02-2002, 02:52 PM
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Forgiveness vs Acceptance: Pauline!

Hi guys,

Pauline and I got into a bit of a discussion so thought I might start a new thread..tomato vs acceptance forgiveness?? Forgiveness acceptance?? Here is what I found:

“Forgiving is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt.”
Courage to Change “One day at a time in Al Anon II pg. 178

“I needn’t tolerate what I consider unacceptable, but wallowing in negativity will not alter the situation. If there is action to take, I am free to take it. Where I am powerless to change the situation, I will turn it over to my Higher Power. By truly letting go, I detach and forgive.”

Courage to Change “One day at a time in Al Anon II pg. 289

“What is the purpose of or recovery? If we are truly in pursuit of serenity, of healing, of a source of inner peace that will help us to deal with and possibly enjoy whatever life brings, we must improve the way we interact with others. This doesn’t mean that we close our eyes to the unacceptable or tolerate the intolerable. It has no bearing on what behavior we will accept, nor on whether or not we continue our present relationships. It simply means that we cultivate the ability to look beneath the surface. By shifting our focus away from the objectionable behavior and looking more deeply, we recognize a part of every human being untouched by disease, the part of each of us that deserves unconditional love and respect regardless of circumstances……this is what forgiveness is all about. We don’t forgive the actions of another person because it was never our job to judge the person for those actions in the first place. Instead we forgive when we acknowledge our common humanity in everyone, even the person we feel entitled to condemn. In this spirit we can even forgive ourselves….”

How Al Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics pg. 87

Whew...I was worried...I think I am okay...I think the two things are a blend of the same behaviors along with letting go and finding compassion for even the worst offenders in our lives. I can't say I have ever "formally" forgiven..but I have in my heart. Myself included!

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Old 09-02-2002, 03:24 PM
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Going strictly by the dictionary, they are not the same. But as we use them in recovery, I think a simplification would be

acceptance= letting go of expectations
forgiveness= letting go of hurts

One would seem to have more to do with the future and the other with the past. But I certainly think we sometimes use them interchangeably.
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Old 09-02-2002, 06:59 PM
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Morning Glory
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I've been thinking of this all day and here is my theory.


Someone borrows money from you and says they'll pay you back. They haven't paid you. You accept that they owe you money and may never pay you back. You accept the fact that you can't force them to pay you back.


You free them from the debt. They no longer owe you the money. They never have to pay you back. They are forgiven the debt.
Old 09-02-2002, 07:56 PM
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Yes, you can accept that someone treated you badly

(or even that you treated someone else badly), but that is different from forgiving.

Come to think of it, there are things I need to forgive myself about.

A couple of times I had some responsibility in the death of an animal, negligence. My love of animals is so strong, that this wounds me deeply. I accept that I made a mistake in judgement, but that is different from forgiving myself.

I'm not sure I yet have, and this was over 10 years ago. There are other situations too (I'm sure I could make a list). I'll have to think about this more.
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