Healing Takes Time   Leave a comment

Forgiveness 5: Sorting Out My Feelings

When I am insulted or slighted, abused or betrayed and the offender won’t discuss it, at least not honestly, I try to decipher her on my own so I can better shape my response.  In every conflict I want to be as gracious as I’m able, starting with grace to myself so that I will have the resources to be gracious to the offender, genuinely gracious—out of freedom, not obligation.  Self-acceptance, not shame or duty, is the soil from which true forgiveness springs.   When I am wounded, it may take time to recover my own sense of grace (that is, to settle into God’s grace).  It takes as long as it takes.  It is crucial that I not sacrifice my own well-being by rushing to work through emotional issues.  I do not nurse my hurt, but I should not belittle my hurt either.  Neither of these is an honest and healthy approach.  Doing a quick patch-up job is disrespectful of and harmful to myself as well as our relationship.

Again, my focus is on my own pain, not on blaming the other person, but since I have been hurt, I no longer feel safe with her.  Until I have found some personal resolution, our relationship will also lack resolution.  I may need a break from our usual level of interaction… whatever I need to stay emotionally safe long enough to work through my own stuff.  I should tell her clearly that I am not punishing her, that this is about me and what I need and not an effort to manipulate her into feeling bad or changing her behavior.  (And I need to be sure this is true.)

Ultimately I want to somehow get to the point that I feel no ill will towards her.  Whether I reach this through exonerating her or through forgiving her is not crucial as long as I am respectful towards myself (my perspective and feelings) in the process.  I may decide that this is primarily my own issue and not hers.  I may determine that she is at fault, and that I will need to forgive her.  I am not her final judge, so I may fault her wrongly, but forgiveness still works: it frees me from suffocating on my own anger and bile.

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Posted March 28, 2013 by janathangrace in thoughts

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