Reading Amberfireinus’s post on forgiveness reminded me of a situation involving someone I know, which has bothered him greatly.  He and I have discussed the matter on various occasions, with no easy resolution.  It involves a family member who has been the instrument of some very destructive events in this man’s life, and has after many years decided to apologize.  She wants to re-establish a relationship. 

He forgave her long ago, years before she asked for it.  He saw that she was weak and imperfect, and he had compassion and intellect enough to understand this, and to put the raw hurt behind him.  But forgiving did not mean forgetting.  It didn’t mean exposing himself to the same problems, or becoming enmeshed in her tumultuous life.  It didn’t mean making himself vulnerable with her again.  Her transgression was great, and she has lost his trust.

I have a lot of admiration for his strength.  He harbors no bitterness, just disappointment.  Now she is asking for a place in his life, and he is conflicted.  Not on his response, but rather in how to phrase the response with respect and yet firmness.  He is not able to allow this person back into his life because the same problems that caused her to take originally advantage of his trusting nature are still apparent.  This is not holding a grudge, it is taking care of himself; no one else can do it for him.



4 responses

  1. “This is not holding a grudge, it is taking care of himself; no one else can do it for him.” How true and it’s the one thing that most people forget when we forgive. So often we allow those “forces” back in our lives only to allow them to do it to us again.

    I once had a similar situation, have had many lol, what I told the person was this. Thank you for your apology and I want you to know that I forgive you full, I honestly harbour no grudges at all. I have moved on from that time in my life, I am a different person now, we both are and we live totally separate lives. You have yours and I have mine, if you need anything shout but I have moved on.”

    Perhaps I was harsh lol but it worked, that person smiled and said that they understood, we hugged (typical girls) and then went our separate ways, the ties were cut proverbially and there is no emotion left in that sector.

    I wish your friend luck, it is a sticky situation to say the least! Hats off to him for forgiving her before she asked, it is not an easy process and it shows his strength of character.

  2. Nice! I like that.

    I agree – too many toxic people in our lives make it a wreck. I’ve been in the same boat and have needed to move on, cutting ties permanently to keep my sanity. Yuck – not fun at all. But better for my quirky little brain.

  3. I’ve never forgiven anybody for anything. Ever. And I maintain a mental “little black book” of every miscreant going back to Barry Jones on my first day at school, aged almost five. And I will be avenged. I will be. I will. I.

  4. This explains a lot about you.

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