Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The process of forgiveness 17

Here is another thought on the final, "What does forgiveness look like?" stage of the forgiveness process I am using.

Forgiveness does not mean I need to resume a relationship with the person. If the person is in denial about their actions, or I repeatedly have tried in the past to "get through" to them without success, it does not make sense to get back in there with them and try some more. If the person is flat-out physically dangerous to be around, or consistently emotionally or mentally draining to me, there is no point in re-subjecting myself to abuse.

I can forgive, love and pray for them from a distance. I do not need to tell the person I have forgiven them. The "why" is simple. Many people do not see themselves in need of forgiveness; in their minds they have done nothing wrong. Many see themselves as victims. To tell a person like this that I forgive them—when their own perspective is that they are an innocent victim who has been hurt by others, and not someone capable of harming others—would do more harm than good and put me back in a relationship with them that would not be good for either of us.

I have never seen a person like this attempt any of the preliminary actions that would precede face-to-face confession, forgiveness and eventually reconciliation—a phone call, an email, or a request to talk from an "I've missed you, could we get together" standpoint.

I pray that these sorts of things might happen someday. I keep the door open on my end. I look for signs there is a crack in the wall they have built up around themselves, or that they may be getting better, in therapy or through medication. Where appropriate and safe, I do reach out and attempt to repair a relationship. But when the person I have forgiven is unstable, in denial, or dangerous, I forgive, and pray for them from a distance.

And that's OK.

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