Yep, I had to come back and revisit the whole forgiveness subject.
I guess my challenge is that to some degree I'm a people pleaser. I'm sensitive to others feelings and want everyone to be ok with themselves and with me .... to a certain degree. There does come a point when all of the good vibrations fly right out the window. I don't ever wish anyone ill because I believe in Karma and don't any bad stuff to float back my way because of some pettiness. I don't like being mean judgemental or standoffish and it sometimes causes guilty feeelings to cut someone off, even when the person has done something worthy of extreme measures like banishment. I strive to forgive and forget BUT, that doesn't mean that I will allow you access to my emotions or trust ever again.
Thank God that the universe always gives all of the necessary tools just when you need them. I was waging a mighty war this morning against negative thoughts and feelings due to my being unforgiving and just when I felt I was being overcome, I saw the perfect reminder of what I was missing on a blog.
Just a note: Failure to learn a lesson the first time doesn't mean that God marches you to the back of the class and sits you there with a dunce cap on your head only to eventually forget about you. Failure to learn the lesson just means that you will repeat the class until you truly get it. Failure to "get it" also reminds us that painful experiences--in relationships, at work, in life--are not always an indication of our weakness, lack of intelligence or poor judgment. It just means God will continue to give us lessons designed for our growth, designed for our greatest good.
I'm in the front row taking notes. Consider this the cliff notes version on the Book of Forgiveness:
Forgiveness isn't condoning the behavior.
To forgive isn't saying, "what you did is okay." It's saying, "the consequences of your behavior belong 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.
Forgiveness isn't forgetting what happened.
It would be foolish to erase from mind some of the wrongs done to you. If you did, you'd never learn from your experiences and would relive the same situations, and consequently, disappointments. What can eventually be forgotten are the raw emotions associated with the event. When you forgive, the terrible memories and feelings gradually diminish.
Forgiveness isn't restoring trust.
Trust is earned. To blindly trust someone who's hurt you is naïve and irresponsible. If a person's a thief, it's foolish to give him a key to your house. If he's a pedophile, you'd be derelict to hire him as a baby-sitter. As such, forgiving a wrong does not mean extending the person an invitation of sin again.
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.
Forgiveness doesn't mean doing the other person a favor.
In Judaism, forgiveness isn't required unless repentance is demonstrated and pardon is sought. But Jesus raised the standard, commanding that you forgive even those who remain unrepentant.
Forgiveness isn't easy.
But if you desire to be faithful, you must follow in the footsteps of God, who has forgiven your great offenses. Hopefully by understanding what forgiveness is not, you'll be better able to honor this great command.