Someone recently hurt me. The details of what happened don’t matter. What matters is my response. It took a while, and I had to discuss the issue with a couple of trusted advisers to sort out my feelings. Then I forgave her.
It wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen the moment I decided to forgive. The other person didn’t ask for forgiveness. She doesn’t think she did anything wrong and feels no need for forgiveness. She doesn’t know I’ve forgiven her.
I will tell you that it will take a while for her to earn back my trust. As a matter of fact, the trust I had in her may never be completely restored. The bigger the wound the less likely it is that the relationship will return to its original state. I’ve forgiven my ex-husband for the emotional abuse that took place in our marriage, but I had to remove myself from that marriage for my own well-being. The Biblical instruction to forgive doesn’t include putting myself back in jeopardy.
Sometimes I’ll hear someone say, “I’ll forgive them, but I’ll never forget.” Usually when someone says this they don’t really intend to forgive the other person. They intend to hold a secret (or maybe not so secret) grudge. That’s not forgiveness. But, still, forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or even pretending that the offense never occurred. Forgiveness means moving beyond the emotional reaction to the memory. It means not reminding the person of what they’ve done.
Forgiveness has very little to do with the other person. It’s between me and God. I give Him the hurt and pain. He gives me peace. It can take some time, a lot of prayer, and several starts and stops. But, it’s definitely worth it.