Forgiveness is a personal journey. I never want to tell anyone else how to live their life. Something that I find infinitely rewarding in my own life is forgiving those around me for large and small things alike. I want to make some things clear before I talk about why I love forgiveness and why it can release the power that certain things hold over me. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not accepting behavior that was harmful to me. In the end, forgiveness is for me.
When people talk about forgiveness, it can get really confusing. Why should I give this person this gift of forgiveness when they hurt me so badly? Why should I tell them I forgive them? Won’t that give them the message that they can keep hurting me? I think that a lot of these questions are a result of me not setting reasonable boundaries, if any boundaries at all. I do not have to keep closeness with someone who has hurt me and refuses to change. This does not mean that I think that I am always innocent either and I still try to (eventually) make amends when I have caused someone harm.
Sometimes there are circumstances where space is needed to determine if a dynamic is worth repairing and I think this length of time is different for everyone and varied for different situations. Ultimately, we all want to be happy and I forgive so that I do not hang on to bitterness and burn myself in the process. On the other hand if someone has hurt me to a large degree or repeatedly, and they do not make any effort to repair, then it is in the best interest of both parties to create distance sometimes to the point of never contacting again. In the end I will still forgive that person because I want to be happy and move on. I hope you feel the relief of someone forgiving you today and are able to savor the feeling.