Do you forgive and forget? Do you not forgive at all? Do you forgive and then not know what to do next?
There are many times when we get a bad reputation for how we view forgiveness. If we believe that individuals should forgive and forget, we’re called naive. If we believe that individuals should forgive, but not forget, we are called bitter and resentful. So, which one is it?
First, let’s determine what forgiveness is and what it is not.
-acknowledging your feelings of hurt and disappointment.
-expressing to the person that you feel hurt or disappointed (not telling them is called passive aggressiveness).
-releasing the hurt and disappointment caused by others or yourself.
Forgiveness is not:
-ignoring what someone has done to you in hopes that it will go away.
-acknowledging what someone has done to you and then allowing them to continue doing it.
-acting as if events have not occurred as a means of proving that you’ve “forgiven” someone.
As we work to heal our hearts and change our lives, we have to understand that forgiveness is one of those character traits everyone has determined we all need.
So what do we do next once we choose to forgive?
Forgiveness is for our healing, peace, and growth. We forgive so that our hearts are unblocked and ready to receive blessings. Here are 3 things you can do after you choose to forgive.
After you forgive, you can:
Distance yourself from the offender. In order to protect your space, be sure that you create boundaries that support your healing. If that means you can’t talk to that person on the phone every day, choose to only chat with them 2 days out of the week to make sure they are well and healthy.
Give the person grace. You can continue being close to someone who has offended you, but you should feel compelled to do so, not obligated. If you have a strong sense that the person will not repeat the offense, extend grace.
Eliminate the person from your life. The person may not actually be ready to handle forgiveness and that’s not your fault. When the other person isn’t ready to forgive, you may have to walk away altogether. Do it with peace and ease. Tell them that you’re taking some time away and leave it at that. You don’t have to justify your actions to anyone.