I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
That is the question!
As someone raised in a "dysfunctional" family, along with every other person living on this planet, I have been taught from birth on that we must forgive. I am sure you have heard yourselves that forgiving is to release you from holding a grudge, and will also release you from inner turmoil and pain. Oh yeah, "it's the right thing to do" comes to mind as well.
I was sitting around with a group of friends recently. Some have faith in God, some do not. The topic of forgiveness was at the forefront. Being raised Catholic, now choosing to follow the Christian way, forgiveness is always drilled into our minds. If someone wrongs you, forgive them. It is your responsibility and I have heard that if I do not forgive, I will not be forgiven.
There are so many types of situations we should consider. I think besides forgiveness, I should also attempt to try to behave myself. I should probably treat others the way I would like to be treated. I should avoid doing drugs, drinking and sleeping around. I think being a role model to my daughters should be in the forefront as well. How about a basic overview of the 10 Commandments? Don't they give us a general outline as to how to conduct ourselves? Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, honor your mother and father, do not steal, just to name a few. Believe it or not, forgiveness is NOT one of the 10 Commandments. Unbelievable, I learned something new today.
believe in forgiveness. If you accidentally rear end my car, I will
forgive you. I mean, I will call my insurance and make a claim, but I
will forgive you. If you forget to call when you say you will, I will
forgive you. Yet, I think it's time that we take the word forgiveness
and make it something to be earned.
Let's talk about a particular situation which happens more often than not. Years ago, when my children were in grade school, I got to know a particular woman. We would have pleasant conversations and eventually got to know each other on a deeper level. She admitted to me over time that she was a Christian. She had been married for 18 years and her husband had cheated on her... FIVE TIMES. She was told by the church it was her responsibility to forgive her husband. I told her that I believed that she should move on with her life because her forgiveness would eventually leave her with a non-treatable STD and she may not see her children grow up. They are now divorced, after his 7th act of adultery.
Should we not raise the bar? Why is it the responsibility of the victim to continually forgive if the perpetrator refuses to change? I mean, let's get real. If you are going to be a jerk, and you are happy with yourself, why do I have to go through the pain and agony of forgiving you knowing that you will probably just continue your bad behavior anyway?
Let's take the recent bus attacks in Milwaukee. These people behave badly. Do they plan on changing? Probably not! How about the guy or girl who uses the Bible to expect their spouse to forgive if they do not plan on giving up their bad ways? How about the wife who spends like there's no tomorrow only to leave her husband with the bill? The friend who constantly belittles you, uses you for God knows what and calls all hours of the day or night? The husband who sits in the casino, leaving very little else for house and home. I am going to be very clear. Men and women behave badly. Some people are just jerks. And, believe it or not, it takes years to create a jerk, and a million more to reverse it.
I think the best idea for someone who is being treated badly is to first and foremost, put a boundary between you and the jerk. It is time for you to remove yourself from a negative situation. If you have a friend who is not behaving like a friend, it is ok to begin to distance yourself. You do not have to answer the phone or make plans. I mean, you can be honest about how you feel, but chances are, a jerk will make excuses. Until they realize for themselves, there is nothing you can do. This person may never change, and the sooner you realize this, the better. I know initially you will miss this person, because I am sure you have had some great times, but as of now, it's just not working.
As soon as you set boundaries, take the time to slowly forgive. Holding a grudge will allow you to protect yourself from further harm. If someone apologizes, and you see honest changes, then forgive them. But, do not just hand it out freely. It is something to be earned, not taken lightly. I believe that over time, your pain will subside and you will eventually be able to "let go" of the pain. Call it forgetting or call it forgiveness, it will happen over time.
If you are a jerk, chances are, you may not have many friends. Or, if you do, they are probably jerks too. Jerks are those who have low self esteem so the only way they feel better is by treating others badly. If you are a jerk, and you have been told, then maybe it's time to do a little "house" work. It is so much easier to smile than to cut someone down. Life is just so much easier when we feel good about ourselves.
I hope this article has helped someone. I believe forgiveness is important, but I believe it has to be earned. Christian or not, we deserve to be treated with respect and set boundaries for ourselves. You deserve to smile each and every day, and if you are not, it is within your power to say no and change your situation. The sooner the better. Life is way too short. Plus, YOU, are worth it!