“Be the bigger person. Forgive.”
“Why should I be the one to forgive when I’m the victim?!”
“Staying angry is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
“Forgiveness only makes me more vulnerable to being hurt again.”
“You’re only hurting yourself more by hanging on to it.”
“You just need to let it go and move on.”
These are each statements I have heard repeatedly about forgiveness. There are so many opinions. And, there is a glimmer of truth in each.
I believe we have so many conflicted feelings about forgiveness because:
We have confused forgiveness with giving more chances.
We have confused forgiveness with restoring trust.
We have confused forgiveness with whitewashing responsibility.
We have confused forgiveness with absolving accountability.
We have confused forgiveness with consciously denying our discernment.
But forgiveness is none of these things.
I can choose forgiveness and still say no more chances.
I can choose forgiveness and still wisely withhold trust.
I can choose forgiveness and still honor responsibility for choices.
I can choose forgiveness and still honor accountability.
I can choose forgiveness and still choose to listen to my discernment.
Because forgiveness is simply an acknowledgement of humanness. It is admitting I know you aren’t a monster. You are a human, doing the best you can, even though the best you could was still harmful to me. I recognize the hurt you caused me came from the hurt inside you. I SEE YOU FOR THE HURTING HUMAN YOU ARE, despite my own pain. I send you with love and wish you deep healing and peace. Because, when you heal, you heal your capacity to continue hurting others.
THIS is forgiveness to me. Not all the other nonsense.
The mention of forgiveness is often deeply triggering to those who have experienced deep pain and loss. There is gold to be mined from underneath this trigger, if you will get brave enough to do the digging. Where is the discomfort in forgiveness for you?