24/11/2020

Accepting Unforgiveness

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:18 pm by The Water Bearer

I’ve always tired to be nice, polite and tolerant of people, I’m a typical people pleaser, so its easy for me to ‘forgive’, to keep the peace and get along with most people. I really just wanted to be included and I assumed this was how it’s done.

In the past this trait caused me to befriend the wrong people. Rather than being choosy about who I let close, I invited in anyone willing to show me attention, affection and acceptance. Even after they had treated me with appalling betrayals, I was willing to give another chance, believing I was growing and learning about forgiveness.

It’s not just friends that teach us about forgiveness, its colleagues, family and lovers too. Recently I have been learning the difference between friendliness and true forgiveness. The world would like us to believe that we must remain in relationship with those we have forgiven in order to prove we have let go of the grudge. But people are often nice to the face of those they hate, so how is being ‘Nice’ to them any evidence of our forgiving heart? I’m pretty good at nice, but I’m learning its not the same thing as true forgiveness. 

I heard Jordan Peterson say something like “Don’t pretend you are a better person than you are. If you have even 5% unforgiveness left in you and you pretend its not there, it will come out in other ways and may destroy everything.”

This got me thinking, because what happens when we allow someone back into our lives, claim to forgive and try to forget their past betrayals, only to realise they continue in the same vein? What happens when more betrayals build on top of the 5% of unforgiveness we may have hiding in our hearts from the last source of pain? Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7, but I don’t believe he was encouraging us to keep putting ourselves back in the path of someone who hasn’t learned the lesson from their last betrayal, or even their last hundred betrayals. I think he was talking about how often we all fail, feel remorse and need forgiveness and must give the same grace to others that we accept for ourselves. That is more about self-awareness, and growth, because we ALL mess up over and over, and our remorse must reach its utmost before we really make the changes and cease the behaviour.

In just the past year or so, a few of those I had ‘forgiven’ and let back in, became untrustworthy yet again. And those old beliefs that I must rise above, tolerate and ‘forgive’ came rising from within me. But when I took a good look in my heart I realised I was still hurt, still angry at past events even though I had continued in relationship with them, and so their recent betrayals just lit the fuse of an explosion of unforgiveness! It wasn’t pretty.

On top of that, people who I trusted for many years also turned on me, and it would have been easy to pretend all was forgiven and go back to people pleasing them, but instead I withdrew just a little, I stayed polite, but I chose not to be as invested as I had always been. I didn’t want to be included. I wanted an damned apology! I wanted to protect my fragile heart and I wanted proof that they were trustworthy again before letting down my guard.

Then came a huge epiphany!

It is often necessary to accept our unforgiveness and take the time to heal, in order to truly forgive.

Now this will be tricky, and can’t be rushed, especially with those who haven’t even apologised, and/or continued to betray me. I knew I needed a significant amount of time to truly forgive. I needed to heal that last 5% and that means I need time without more betrayals adding to the pile. 

Some may believe that I am unchristian and unloving by removing myself from the contact of those who need my forgiveness. But I know the truth, I know I have tried to treat them well despite the pain in my heart. I recognise they need my true forgiveness, not merely a polite relationship. I believe, thanks to the forgiveness I have received from my Saviour, that true forgiveness is possible and I am looking forward to experiencing its freedom when I get there. But in the mean time, I’m removing that overcompensating smile plastered across my face that makes everyone more comfortable with their mistreatment of me and I’m focusing on the process of entirely overcoming any deeper levels of unforgiveness, so that when I say and act like I have forgiven someone, I will feel and know it’s TRUTH!

 

 

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