We’ve all been disappointed, betrayed, burned by someone we trusted. Maybe someone we loved.
It hurts bad. It causes us to question everything about that relationship. We wonder if that person was every really our friend. We question how that co-worker or neighbor could ever cross that line with us. We’re angry. We’re confused. We feel violated.
But we move on. We can stay bitter, or we can forgive and press ahead. After forgiveness, we hear ourselves saying things like this to ourselves and to others:
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget.
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never trust him/her again.
- I’ll forgive, but I can’t ever like this person as much as I once did.
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll make sure others know he/she can’t be trusted.
- I’m trying to forgive, but there’s a part of me that will never be able to truly forgive him/her.
I understand the pain. The need to be cautious is genuine. But let me ask you to consider this.
What if YOU are the guilty one? What if YOU are the one who has let yourself and others down? Do you say…
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget what I did.
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never trust myself again.
- I’ll forgive, but I can’t ever like myself as much as I once did.
- I’ll forgive, but no one will ever be able to trust me again.
- I’m trying to forgive, but there’s a part of me that will never be able to truly forgive myself.
Can I offer a piece of advice, a friendly bit of encouragement? Be brave. Forgive with no strings. Let it go. Whether you are forgiving yourself or someone else, offer forgiveness, not because it’s been earned or deserved, but because you can. They don’t deserve it. Neither do you. But it’s grace, and we all need it.
When you give forgiveness, it:
- Begins the process of restoration;
- Clears the air and allows communication to resume;
- Unloads the weight of anger, resentment and bitterness;
- Opens the future up to brighter and better possibilities;
- Allows friendships to be restored and hearts to mend;
So do it. Don’t wait. Forgive him. Forgive her. Forgive you. Life is awesome on the other side of grace.