What role does forgiveness play in your life? Have you been able to forgive those who have trespassed against you? What about 'Forgive and Forget?' Is that twice as troubling?
I struggled and continue to struggle with the concept of forgiveness. As a believer in God and as a Christian I am required to 'Forgive and Forget' but how does that work in real life?
As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, I have had a lot to forgive. The abuse was in my home. My step-father was my abuser so I had to deal with the subject of forgiveness when it came to him as well as with my own mother who was supposed to protect me.
When it comes to my step-father, I have forgiven him. Or maybe I should say that I am trying to forgive him. This is a fairly recent development in my life. I figured out that being mad, bitter or feeling powerless because he has not been punished for what he has done to me and others only continued to give him power in my life. At the same time, that anger, and bitterness only made me weak. I learned through my relationship with God and counseling that the most powerful thing I could do is to try to forgive him.
I am troubled by my form of forgiveness. Is it really forgiveness, how does God view it? What happens if my form of forgiveness is tested by a face to face meeting with my abuser? For the record, I have not had contact with him for 20+ years. So I forgive him as long as my forgiveness is not tested???? That seems wrong but I am a work in progress. All I know is that at this point my form of forgiveness gives me peace.
My form of forgiveness allows me to not be angry or bitter about my life or the years that I have spent struggling as a result of his abuse of me. I have released it, although there are still times when it is front and center. At the same time I know that I would never allow him to speak to me or stay in the same room with him. I know that I would confront him if he tried to explain away his abusive actions towards me.
So in essence I forgive but I don't forget. I have lived by that motto. I can forgive you but if your trespass against me is offensive enough you will not be allowed back into the position of trust that you once held. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me, right?
So I have to ask myself and you the reader a question. Is this forgiveness? I'm hoping so but I'm not sure.
That's All I Got!