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.