Saturday, June 26, 2010

Forgiveness or Trust

I've heard a lot of confusion about what it means to forgive someone. I used to be confused myself and felt really guilty about being so unforgiving. I could really carry a grudge. I built a lot of muscles that way. Over time, in recovery, reading books, talking to people, etc., I came to the realization that forgiveness doesn't mean saying, "Oh well, it's all right." It means that I've stopped plotting revenge, telling other people over and over what the person did to me, and stopped re-thinking it all the time. It doesn't mean I have to let the person have the opportunity to do whatever it was to me again.

If the person is close to me, it would make sense to work something out with him/her, so that we are on good terms again. That's going to require trust which is way, way different than forgiveness. For me to trust again, the person is going to need to apologize, show me that he/she is aware of the harm he/she did, and tell me what he/she is going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I'm okay with realizing that I'm probably going to love quite a few people who aren't that trustworthy. Love and trust are not the same things either. I can be close and loving with someone who doesn't keep their word, is oblivious to what they do that is painful to me, etc. I just stop trusting in areas where the person isn't trustworthy. Of course, if the person is really dangerous, I will have to put distance between us, but if it's something like the person is critical,
I will just walk away from the criticism. If they don't do what he/she says he/she will do, I just won't count on it.

Living and loving in peace with people doesn't turn out to be that hard. I still want to open my mouth and bawl people out, but for the most part I restrain myself. Truly it isn't about me.

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