I Don’t Think I Can Do It…

I’ve come across a few blog posts recently that discuss the topic of forgiveness.  These posts talk about the importance of forgiveness in the healing process.  Several mention how one can never really be free from the pain of the past without truly forgiving those who have hurt you.

I am a practicing Catholic and grew up in the Church.  The message of forgiveness certainly is not new to me.  I’ve had countless religion classes and listened to countless homilies that emphasized the power of forgiveness.  It all makes sense, too.  True forgiveness releases negative emotions and hurt.  It frees the soul to become whole again.  It allows one to start over.

It’s also much easier said than done.  Reading the posts about forgiveness helped me realize something: I absolutely do not forgive C for all the things he did and all the pain he caused me (if you are a new reader and want to catch up on what this man did, check here and here and here).  I think I’m starting to really get over him.  I don’t think about him much anymore.  I don’t constantly feel angry or sad.  I’m once again excited about my future and moving forward with my life.  However, I still haven’t forgiven him.

It would be so easy to say that I forgive him, but in my heart I know I’m not there yet.  How do I know this?  I don’t hope for the best for him.  I don’t wish him well.  I can’t include him in my prayers.  It’s not that I’m necessarily angry, it’s just hard to want the best for someone who did so many things to destroy my life.  It’s hard for me to believe that C deserves happiness, and that’s how I know that I haven’t forgiven him for what he did.  

I don’t like admitting these things.  I want to be a better person than that.  So I’m trying to approach this from a different angle.  I don’t need to forgive him for his benefit; I need to do it for my own.  I’m trying to internalize the fact that forgiving him, truly forgiving him, does not mean I’m saying that I’m ok with what he did.  It doesn’t mean that I want to piece our relationship back together.  It means I want to heal completely.  I want to let go of any remaining negativity.  I want to completely move past this whole experience so I can be whole again and fully give myself to someone in the future.

Is it bad to view forgiveness in this light?  Does it make me a selfish person?  I feel like true forgiveness should be a selfless act; does the fact that I’m trying to forgive someone so I can be whole again take away from the power of the act? 

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6 thoughts on “I Don’t Think I Can Do It…

  1. Have you ever considered that forgiveness is a process? I understand what you are say and I have had to wrestle with truly forgiving some one who I felt betrayed me many years ago. It took a while but being willing to be willing to be willing was very helpful

    Peace

    Jim

    • That’s a good point. I guess where I’m struggling the most is that the anger and sorrow that were a strong, constant presence in my life in the weeks following the event have gone away (for the most part), and yet I still can’t honestly forgive him. I thought that once I worked through the negative emotions I would be in a place where I could do it but that hasn’t happened…

      • I went through cycles of calm and then anger all over again over several years. So it took a while but the more I became willing to forgive the more I moved forward in the process. I also began to understand that forgiving and forgetting are two separate things. Even now I still remember but my desire is that he is doing well and living as God would have him live.

        Jim

  2. Of course you can’t forgive him. These are deep wounds, and as humans we are not constructed that way. But… God can help you forgive him. We are never expected to live the Christian life on our own strengths. God in us enables us to do things we cannot on our own. However, God will not impose it on us, he waits for us to seek his help. I’m not implying it is easy, because it is not, but when we give God permission to work his grace in us, it becomes possible. There have been times I have not wanted to forgive, so I have had to ask God to make me willing. Start wherever you are and give it to God. He is faithful. Blessings on your journey.

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