Soul Cleanse 33: Recognize that forgiveness and closure is for me, not for the other person.
One of my closest friends and spirit sisters, who I affectionately call Pooh Bear, posted this in her notes a while back, entitled 6 Misconceptions About Forgiveness. The author is unknown, but I want to address some of these to shed some light on my own issues regarding forgiveness.
'' Excerpts From 6 Misconceptions About Forgiveness''
1. Forgiveness isn't condoning the behavior--- To forgive isn't saying, "What you did is okay." It is saying, "The consequences of your behavior belongs to God, not to me." When you forgive, you transfer the person from your own system of justice to God's. To forgive is to recognize that the wrong done against you is a debt of sin, and all sin is against God. Therefore, in forgiving, you transfer the debt from your ledger of accounts to God's, leaving all recompense in his hands.
This is one of the top reasons why in the past, there was hesitation in me to forgive. I believed if I forgave the person, I forgave the act being done to me.
One major example was how things played out with the old poetry organization I used to be affiliated with. Two people I was close to on that site betrayed me, resulting in my exit from the organization. It left an extremely sour taste in my mouth. This happened back in 2002.
Fast forward to ten years later.
One of the parties I did resume communication with a few years ago via Facebook and eventually telephone.
The other party reached out to me May of this year, but I haven’t responded since the “friend request” and the message sent to me. So the situation is kind of in limbo—yet I don’t want to carry this around or leave it unresolved.
2. Forgiveness isn't restoring trust--- Trust is earned. To blindly trust someone who's hurt you is not acceptable and is irresponsible. If a person's a thief, it's foolish to give him a key to your house…. As such, forgiving a wrong does not mean extending the person an invitation to sin again.
My mom and I have different views as it regards to forgiveness. She believes just because a person forgives her, it means trust must come with it as well. However, I don’t necessarily view it in that way; that provides the great divide between us. It’s not that I don’t want the two of us to have a relationship but over the years, I have become more realistic as to the type of relationship she and I can have.
When I was growing up, I had this romanticized view of her and the type of relationship she and I could have if she were around more often and if circumstances were different. I know, through my own experiences and through her own actions that it wouldn’t have mattered. The outcome would have been the same. Once I came to terms with this, it lessened the pain and made me able to come to the point where I could forgive.
She has provided so many scenarios where she cannot be trusted. I can’t just let her have free reign, but she is disappointed because I won’t allow her to. It’s not hate that has caused this but learning from my experiences.
3. Forgiveness isn't synonymous with reconciliation----It's a necessary step toward reconciliation, yet reconciliation isn't necessarily the goal of forgiveness. In fact, there are situations where reconciliation is not a good idea. If the other person's unwilling to reconcile due to bitterness or denial, you can still forgive. But it's silly, if not dangerous, to seek reconciliation when the other person is unrepentant, unchanging, or unwilling.
Reconciliation is at a standstill with my mother because despite seeing the pain she has caused, she has demonstrated multiple times she is not willing to change.
If someone is not even willing to acknowledge how their actions may seem wrong or affect others, then as protection for my own self, it’s in my best interest not to give free reign in this area as well.
Instead of holding on to misconceptions, I should embrace how freeing it is to not carry around heightened hurt, pain, and resentment by embracing what forgiveness truly is.
If I get caught up on what forgiveness is not, it sets me up to get sucked into a never ending cycle. The only person that really gets hurt isn’t the perpetrator…it’s me.