Do We Really Know What Forgiveness Is? (Father Simon Says)

If you’ve been continually hurt by someone, you may feel wonder how you can forgive while still protecting yourself. Should you stay in a harmful relationship and “put up with it?” Well, not necessarily… You need to care for yourself too.

Fr. Richard Simon offers a refreshing take on forgiveness, drawing a clear line between forgiving and being taken advantage of. He starts by debunking common misconceptions, highlighting that true forgiveness, as derived from the Greek word “aphiēmi,” means to let go. This concept applies not only to offenses but sometimes to the people who cause them, especially in toxic relationships.

In the context of romantic relationships, Father has observed situations where one partner exhibits possessive or obsessive behavior, which can be harmful. He suggests that in such cases, letting go of the relationship might be the best form of forgiveness. This advice extends to recognizing when a relationship is detrimental to your well-being, advocating for the strength to move on for the sake of personal happiness and health.

Fr. Simon emphasizes the importance of balance. He argues against the idea of enduring mistreatment in the name of forgiveness or Christian duty, especially in scenarios involving abuse or addiction. He encourages seeking help and making changes to improve or exit harmful situations, reinforcing the idea that forgiveness involves making choices that are best for everyone involved, including oneself.

Ultimately, Fr. Simon’s perspective on forgiveness is about finding the courage to let go of what harms us, while still wishing well for others. It’s a call to prioritize healthy relationships and personal growth, ensuring that forgiveness doesn’t come at the expense of one’s happiness and well-being.

Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at and on the Relevant Radio® app.