Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The work of forgiveness 15

Let's now explore the sixth and final step in the process of forgiveness I am using.
6. Have some clarity about what the forgiveness will look like in this case. I may realize forgiving one person looks different from forgiving another.
I think forgiveness looks a bit different from person to person. The way I forgive may be different from what works for you. I also believe that what is needed in forgiveness is unique to the person being forgiven. It matters whether the person is alive or dead. It matters whether this is someone you can conceive of having a future relationship with or not. It matters whether the person is such a damaged individual that there is little hope (never no hope, of course) of them ever coming to a place of understanding about their actions, or whether they are a sensitive soul who may one day wish to examine the events and move towards reconciliation.

There are many other factors as well. You and I, doing the forgiveness, is unique. Each person needing our forgiveness is unique. Each situation is unique. And so forgiveness also looks different in each case.

At the end of the process, therefore, it is a good practice to consider what your ongoing forgiveness of the person is going to look like, so you have a measuring stick to recall when they come to mind or you cross their path in the future.

You will want to consider some of the things mentioned above, as well as a few others. Is there a personal safety issue involved, such that you need to distance yourself from the person? Is the person able to hurt you from afar, perhaps through social media, phone calls, chats with other people in your circle? Was the incident isolated or part of an ongoing situation? Would you want to contact the person again for possible reconciliation? Would you consider making the first move, or would that be up to them? How will you manage thoughts and feelings that may bubble up inside in the future?

Consider these and other factors that apply in your case. From your forgiveness perspective, write down what ongoing forgiveness will look like in your case—what you will and won't do, how you can keep yourself healthy, and how you can maintain the forgiveness you have found.

In the next post we will consider some things this state of forgiveness does and does not mean.

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