Forgiveness.. No one said it would be easy.
Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, let’s start really digging into the idea of forgiveness, specifically, “I forgive, but I won’t forget”. This is where forgiveness gets dicey. I understand the desire and in some cases the need to remember for the purpose of learning, avoiding detrimental situations, and/or not placing yourself in harms way.
The problem, we often take these memories, these past issues that we’ve “Forgiven” and throw it back in someone’s face at the first sign of a problem, or the first time you get into a heated argument. This behavior is not a characteristic of true forgiveness, but rather the behavior of someone who either says they forgive and don’t mean it, or someone who wants to forgive but isn’t ready yet. The latter (want to forgive, not ready) is okay if we’re working on forgiving, and truthfully communicate to the person we have the issue with. Yes, you can tell someone you’re not ready to forgive them if asked. No, you cannot tell someone you forgive them if you haven’t. Forgiveness in this scenario means not even having the desire to remind them of how many times they’ve messed up or all the chances you’ve already given them. Let it go.
No one said it would be easy, but peace requires us to keep trying and to be real with ourselves. Will it take time; absolutely. Will you have to meet people more than halfway; most definitely. Will you go through rough patches; without a doubt. Will some people try to take advantage of you; yes… but forgiveness and the weight lifted on your soul is worth the risk that someone won’t appreciate the effort. At it’s best forgiveness can change the world. At worst, not carrying the grudge is one less thing for you to worry about.