Forgive & Forget?
Forgive & forget? Forgive and accept? Interesting topic.
I posted the following to my NewDirection FaceBook status the other day…
How to best handle forgiveness seems to be a topic among people I know these days. Forgive & yet don’t allow back into your life or forgive and allow back into your life. I think it’s a situational thing and trust has to come into the process. – Hmm, maybe I’ll BLOG on this topic for Friday – grin.
I had a couple of interesting remarks on it, so I believe it is a valid topic for discussion. I even wrote a chapter titled Forgiveness in my book, The Decision to CHANGE.
There are many quotes and cartoons about the need to forgive others, not for them but for yourself, to allow yourself to be released from the bitterness that may be defining you. One of my favorites is “Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” ~Unknown. It’s so true, isn’t it?
This all came up because a couple of friends of mine (in completely different situations) were asked to not only forgive someone, but then to continue to have that person in their life. In both situations, my friends did NOT want the forgiven person in their life still, yet they felt pressured to allow it. After all, they had forgiven the person, so what’s the problem? Yikes.
Forgiveness is not letting the wrong done to you control your life any more. It means you won’t hold a grudge, you won’t continue to bring it up, it’s in the past and you’re done with it. It doesn’t mean that what happened was okay, or that you will allow it to happen again, or that you trust the person you just forgave. You know that old saying, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”
I am all about forgive & forget, although I guess most people don’t really forget either, they just choose not to let it bother them anymore. Forgive and accept? That’s all about trust. I admire the couples who have been through an affair and still managed to keep their marriage together. THAT is forgive and accept, that takes a strong person, yea for them. Giving back trust like that, after it’s been broken is not an easy thing to do. I would say many more marriages fall apart after an affair than are saved, but this is not a blog on marriage, it’s a blog about forgiveness.
So, you have forgiven someone. That is a huge thing. Now what? The decision to keep that person in your life (be it a friend, relative, spouse, neighbor, whoever) is up to you. Do not let them bully themselves back into your life. If you want to continue to see them, then you certainly can do that. If you want to walk away from the relationship, that is your choice too. Do you trust this person? Do you want to have them in your life? If you don’t then let them know you have forgiven them, but you are not at a point to have them in your life and walk away. You can leave the door open for a future if you’d like to, but you don’t have to.
Back in high school I had a friend who said something so hurtful about my family that I just up and quit speaking to them for a couple years. I just wanted nothing to do with that person. Eventually, as I saw them around school, I missed the friendship we had and began to say “hi” to them in the halls. By the time we graduated, we could speak to each other. They had never been mad at me and hadn’t realized how deeply the comment had hurt me. (I mean say anything you want about me, but don’t you talk about my family – you know how that is – grin.) So, yes, we eventually became friendly again, but it was never like it had been, the relationship was never the same. We do not keep in touch, but that’s okay – I was mad at them anyway – haha. No, they lived in a different state and had their own life. People grow apart. The point is, I forgave them and we managed to be civil to each other, but I never trusted them enough to allow them fully back into my life, and that was fine. Life went on and so it goes.
That’s just one example that sort of popped into my head. I could give many more, as I’m sure you have many of your own examples.
Long story short… You must forgive (for your own sake) but you don’t have to continue to have a relationship with that person, unless YOU choose to.
Have a great weekend!