So you forgave them. Why does it still hurt so much?
Maybe we have been thinking forgiveness is something it’s not.
(and some cutie pictures of my baby girl with no correlation to the topic other than something cute to look at 🙂 )
We’ve all heard it. Give it time. It’s only a matter of time. Time will heal. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Time isn’t going to fix anything. Time will never take the place of forgiveness. Forgiveness will always be a choice we have to make. Forgiving is the choice we make to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.” Forgiveness is a choice. Whether we make it today or in 20 years, it will still have to be a choice. Time only lengthens the pain. Time is our biggest enemy. We can choose TODAY to begin healing.
We’ve all heard the cliche, “Forgive and Forget.” Why is this something we say? It makes me so mad that we feed this to everyone and give it out so freely when we are seeking forgiveness. Usually, the party that hurt, is the same party expecting a “fresh start.” When they hear the words, “I forgive you,” they translate it to “they forget what happened.” But that is not fair at all! We forget what we had for dinner last night, but we do not forget the pain of a broken heart. When we forgive, we are choosing to treat them in a way that shows them love through the pain. This is going to look different for each situation, but if we focus on what love is, we will be able to act accordingly.
They hurt us and we wait around sulking in the pain, day after day, month after month, year after year. Why? When we are little, we are conditioned that forgiveness is a cause-effect. The person that hit us on the playground is brought over by an adult and forced to say, “I’m sorry.” Then they look at us and we say, “I forgive you.” The end. So we continue this pattern forever. Um, woah! But here’s the part they don’t teach us–we can forgive without an apology! We are free to do our part at anytime in the healing process. How much easier it is to forgive someone when they admit their fault, but how important it is for us to forgive even when they don’t admit any fault. It’s for our own happiness we forgive them. If we do not forgive, the only other option is to hold bitterness against them. Bitterness hurts, it holds us prisoner, it makes us hard. Love allows us to heal.
So we forgave them, shouldn’t the pain go away? This one is especially confusing if we have bought into the lie we are supposed to forget. Since we cannot forget, we will remember from time to time. Out of the blue the pain will stop us in our tracks. Anger will arise in our hearts and we will find ourselves, once again, reliving the memory. When we find ourselves in this moment, we have a choice to make. Continue dwelling in the hurt, or forgive again. We may have to forgive them everyday (or multiple times a day), but overtime we will find ourselves forgiving quicker. We will realize the freedom that comes with forgiveness is more appealing than walking around in the chains of bitterness.
“It takes two to tango.” Just because you forgive them does not mean the relationship will continue as if it never happened. Only when the other party apologizes is there possibility for restoration. Trust was lost and it cannot be rebuilt without both parties acknowledging the wrongdoing. We can forgive them and seek relationship, but if they do not take responsibility for their actions, the relationship will not be restored.
My hope is you find freedom while reading these misconceptions. Which misconception is the easiest to believe? Have you found freedom in forgiveness?