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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Forgiveness Beyond Bitter Betrayal

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
—William Blake (1757–1857)
Trust; to trust or not trust; to believe someone we’ve trusted who has betrayed us—our confidence, our mutual understanding, our relationship.
These are some of the worst moments of our lives.
Human relationships are synonymous for miscommunication, yet it takes a moral miscommunication to cause the true upsets. It’s when it seems people deliberately transgress us that we are thrown into convolutions of bitterness because of the betrayal.
“How could so-and-so do such a thing?”
Not many of us will leap to logical explanations in the bristling moment. But with an hour or two or a day we have better perspective. Or we don’t—sometimes we replay the betrayal over and over again. And bitterness kindles and builds, as it begins to burn inside of us.
If there is sustaining mutual respect within our closest relationships a quick meeting of the hearts and minds ensues and trust and intimacy are actually grown through the conflict. But this takes two people in mature mindsets, and with similar high desires of the relationship, to achieve it.
The Implications of Forgiveness and Non-Forgiveness
When we forgive we afford our relationships the opportunity of a fresh start and even heightened trust, respect, and intimacy. We are 50% of the solution. Most academic examinations have 50% as the pass mark. 50% is not a bad start. Furthermore, we have absolute control over that 50% of the relational input. It’s a big say over the output.
But when we refuse to forgive—because we are also 50% of the problem—not only is the relationship destined to sputter and stall, we hurt ourselves. God has made love in a way that when we refuse to love we hurt most ourselves. This is why it’s by far better to forgive even if the other party won’t. By forgiving we have relieved ourselves, to most extents, of the inner turmoil that bitterness produces.
We find God doing wonderful things in our hearts regarding this relational situation as the days unfold. And we may find their bitterness consuming them. God will ask us to pray for them, and as we pray we find ourselves praying truly for their release—for their release, not ours.
The implications of forgiveness are vast. We are blessed spiritually as our minds are freed and our hearts are healed. And though forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean trust, we begin to be more open to trust, if it’s deserved, because our hearts have been mended, and we feel strong enough to love again.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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