I’m certain that almost everyone, at one point or another, has struggled with my next chosen blog subject…
There are circumstances which can be easy to forgive, but then there are those very tough times that you almost have to force it out of yourself. Why can it be so easy and freely given on one hand and then completely the opposite on the other? Easy, there are some actions that are either done to us or someone close to us that just seem inexcusable. There are hateful words spewed about us or people we are close to that will never be forgotten. So what is forgiveness really? Does forgiveness mean we just accept the behavior and forget everything that was ever done or said and pretend none of it ever happened? My answer, no. To me forgiveness does not obligate you to forget anything and it most certainly doesn’t excuse a thing. I would never want forgiveness to be viewed as something that enables others to continue with their horrendous behavior. We can be the bigger person and choose to forgive, not only for the other person but even for ourselves. Carrying around hatred, resentment, hurt, sadness and all the other emotions towards a specific person(s), on a daily basis for extended periods of times, it can be draining emotionally and physically. It can alter your life in ways you may not even recognize. Sadly, in us holding on, it usually only affects us the most. Most of the time this other person who wronged you is out there able to live day-to-day without a second thought and you’re stuck here day today reliving the past and holding on to all those strong emotions. It reminds me of the quote I come across often, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” How true that is to me. Why give someone the power to continue hurting you every single day? There are some people who wrong us and show honest remorse, then there are many others who could not care less about how they have wronged you. They believe you should just accept who they are and get over it. Usually those are the individuals who have been enabled most of their lives; excuses made for their repetitive disrespectful, hateful, ignorant and disgusting behavior. These can be the hardest people to forgive, as they truly see themselves as a constant “victim” instead of owning their own actions. They tend to speak on the effect of their actions and conveniently leave out the CAUSE. Often they place the blame everywhere else except where it should be placed.
So does forgiving a person mean you have to forget how they’ve acted towards you and treated you? Does it mean you have to let repeat offenders back in your life? My answer, no and no. None of us are perfect or without fault. Our job is not to judge each other but help each other out. Forgiveness is something we should give freely because it was freely given to ALL of us…but that’s not to say we have to constantly take and accept the same abuse. You will always remember the words or actions, that’s pretty much inevitable, but it shouldn’t be something you let control how YOU feel as a person. Forgiveness can be very freeing and you can give it without letting the toxic people back into your life. If someone demonstrates an unhealthy pattern in the way they treat you, you are in no way obligated to allow that person access to your life. They show you on a consistent basis how they prioritize not only your feelings but others as well. Forgiveness can still be given without giving this person or persons a key to your life. This should not make you feel guilty in the least because you are looking out not only for your well-being but the well-being of your family as well.
Even the silent forgiveness can be a battle. You want to forgive someone in your heart, but you just can’t seem to tell yourself that you forgive them. Truthfully I have struggled with forgiving certain people, as you could probably conclude from other blog posts of mine, but when I had finally forgiven after YEARS of holding on, it was like getting a breath in after being held under water. Some people I made aware I forgave them and others I have silently forgiven, but in both circumstances there are individuals I have not let back into my life and it was for the best. If these people don’t bring positivity to your life and help you grow as a person, what is their purpose? Why give them the honor and privilege of participating in and benefiting from your life?
I pray that anyone struggling with forgiveness finds a way to make it work for them. If you can’t bring yourself to do it for the individual(s) who have mistreated you, do it for yourself. Choose to improve your emotional and physical health and allow yourself to heal. Allow yourself to stop living in the past so you can be happy and fulfilled in the present. Don’t give those people any more power over you or your life. Forgiveness is something we have all needed extended to us at some point, but the important part is that the forgiveness is not taken for granted; you learn from it and show that by your actions and the way you continue living. It’s reminds me of what my husband tells our kids about saying sorry. What does sorry mean? Sorry means you feel bad for what you did and (the most important part) you won’t do it again. Someone who is honestly sorry and remorseful will show you by not repeating their negative actions. They will be sorry on their own, not solely for being called out for what they have said or done. They will allow you all the time and space you need; days, weeks, months and even years. They will know they have done wrong and caused pain and they will maturely accept the consequences of their actions. They won’t feel entitled to your forgiveness, they’ll feel blessed and honored you even chose to forgive them. It’s very easy, especially during this point, to tell a toxic person from a non-toxic person. A regretful person from a non-regretful person. While both types of people should be extended forgiveness, both are not owed a permanent residence in your life. I pray God guides you in your decisions and your forgiveness process.
With all of this said, NEVER cease praying for anyone, toxic or non.
Much love and God Bless. ❤🙏