Forgiveness. This is a hard thing.
I’ve been pretty good at it, most of the time. I tend to be a pretty forgiving person, especially if someone says they are sorry and it comes across as genuine. Not I’m sorry you feel that way, I’m sorry I got caught, I’m sorry just to get you off my back or because there is an audience and you have to get yourself off some hook. This is not a place where you can afford to fake it. most are perceptive to perceive the disingenuous.
But, most of the time if someone does not realize what they said or did, I usually ignore it. Some are just unknowingly offensive, not on purpose. Sometimes they are sneaky about it, little jabs here and there. Sometimes, If I think they are receptive I might say, you know that could come across badly in some circles…otherwise I leave them to their own peril. It’s not worth wasting my time for people who can’t be kind.
In the case of a former abusive spouse, I forgive him, but we are divorced. We are divorced because I tired of the abuse, had never experienced it before and he wasn’t changing in spite of any type of intervention. I chose to forgive because we have two children together and for their benefit. This does not mean he is involved at all, he isn’t. This is an example of true forgiveness. Some might say I should have stayed married at all costs. I disagree. Just because you have the capacity to forgive does not mean you need to allow the behavior to continue to victimize you. Forgive, but don’t forget. It is pure stupidity to throw yourself under the bus, when you should be on the sidewalk. The baggage I left with is tough too. I vowed never to allow someone to lay a finger on me without coming away with some sort of regret. I am no weakling, at least physically. But it hurts my heart. I live with this baggage daily.
Back to my struggles with it. There are those who keep going out of their way to hurt others. Some are friends some are extended family that you have no choice but to interact with in your life. What do you do?
I struggle with forgiving people who continue to do the same things over and over. At some point when I am just being taken advantage of or a relationship is one-sided or a severe stress on my life, I have to forgive (and this is hard) and distance myself from them until such time as they change (not holding my breath).
This is only part of the verse, you should read it in context but basically Jesus responded to Peter in this way…Matthew 18:21-22: 21Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.…
Forgive, but that does not mean you will or can forget, nor should you necessarily. You should never throw yourself under the bus when you know the driver is trying to run you over. Take note, consider the source, and move on. Time and distance can be your safety and sanity.