Small “J” vs. Big “J”

Forgiveness is difficult because many people have a deep misunderstanding of what forgiveness is and is not.



  • Forgiveness gives fairness a chance. And while we don’t know about a lot, including what’s fair and what’s not, we know that the feeling that fairness has a chance to occur can only come about through the act of forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness is an active act we engage in, rather than a passive event that occurs to us from the ether without our acquiescence or knowledge.
  • Forgiveness does not mean that we surrender our right to justice. And justice comes from our moral core.

The act of forgiveness and the process of getting there, is often mixed up with small “j” judgment—focused on determining who’s right and who’s wrong—which often then turns into capital “J” judgment—where we determine where another’s soul might or might not be going.

The Christian conciliator often gets the idea of judgment mixed up with the gut feelings of discernment.

Discernment comes from the Holy Spirit and the move of the spirit in a person. Confirmed through prayer, the Christian conciliator can get closer toward guiding others through the forgiveness process, and past the capital “J” judgment that blocks true understanding.

[Check out The Art of Forgiving by Lewis B. Smedes for more on this.]

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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