One thing I can never tolerate is a liar. Little did I know I loved one once.
I sat with the evidence in my hand and rage in my heart. He’d broken my trust and lied. Things would fall apart as they sometimes do, but the fate of the relationship was minimal compared to the long term effects of what I was carrying – betrayal, hurt and anger. These weights tempted to sink my spirit and any future relationship if I didn’t put them down the right way. There’s a difference between burying weight and releasing it. When you bury it, it still drags down your spirit and leaves you loving in quick sand – struggling more and falling deeper unable to move and love freely. However, when you release the weights, you are free to move forward.
Forgiveness starts with naming and claiming what happened. Whether it was a man or a friend that hurt you, start by naming the situation as what it is and claiming the feelings you have inside. It’s more than “I was lied to.” Your trust was betrayed and your faith in friendships or love was broken. You look at the person differently. You feel stupid. You are now questioning everyone around you and everyone in your future. You are replaying every scenario and picking it apart to decide when you overlooked what was “obvious.”
Rather than blaming and asking why, start by acknowledging that it happened and it hurt. Let it hurt. Let the tears come and let the anger blind you for a moment. Then decide to let it go and forgive.
Forgiveness takes time. This doesn’t happen overnight. You must allow yourself to grieve, heal and rebuild. The other person cannot rush you to forgiveness. You cannot rush yourself into forgiveness. It takes time to build back strength, faith, and courage to decide to forgive. Before you are consumed from the inside out, decide that forgiveness is worth it and forgiveness is necessary. Then you can begin your process.
Forgiveness is a personal choice. You may think that what the person did to you or the lie that he/she told is too much to ever let go. It will forever be written in your memory. I believe you. Some emotional betrayals hurt when we breathe. However, forgiveness is personal. No apology and no explanation can give you permission to forgive. You must decide to close the door, forgive and keep forgiving.
Forgiveness is a continuous, permanent act. There will come a day when you feel the weights are finally off your shoulders and you’ve forgiven the person. That’s awesome. However, you will need to forgive them everyday until it becomes second nature like blinking. The hurts and deceptions come to mind out of nowhere. Maybe it’s a song, a tweet or a passing thought, but something takes you back to that moment and the hot tears burn. Forgive, again. Much like forgiveness being a continuous act, true forgiveness is NOT temporary and does NOT change with your mood. You must pick a side and stay there.
Forgiveness is a choice to stay or go. Occasionally the person that offended us is allowed to stay in our life. If that’s the choice you made then live with that choice. You cannot continue to punish someone for the same crime over and over again. If you take every opportunity to remind your offender of their past transgression you have not forgiven them. True forgiveness manifests in love and grace. You show love. You extend grace. And you wipe the slate clean. Deal with your own hurt. If you continue to drag this offense out and beat the dead horse over and over, take your emotions to the other side of the playground. If it takes distance to maintain your sanity, peace and TRUE forgiveness then take it. No one ever said forgiveness meant someone is allowed to stay in your life. Much like love, sometimes it’s better to practice forgiveness from a distance.
Forgiveness is deeper than words. Saying “I forgive you” is sometimes as empty as saying “I’m sorry.” Change that. Lewis Smedes writes, you will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. Embrace that power to wish them well. When you truly forgive someone you no longer wish death and destruction on them because of how badly they hurt you with their lie. Instead, you embrace the power you have to wish them well. You separate the circumstances from the character and can truly wish good things into their life.
When someone lies to us, or does anything that violates our expectations for respect and trust, it’s crushing. However, you have the power to forgive. You have the power to decide that today is the last day it hurts and that no matter what, you will forgive the offender and put those heavy hurting weights down. Forgiveness will set you free.
Do you do anything else to forgive? Has this been a struggle for you? Keep the conversation going in the comments below!
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss., a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss or visit the site at http://laughcrycuss.com.