4 Lies We Believe About Forgiveness

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

4 Lies We Believe About Forgiveness

It took me SOOOOO long to learn to forgive.
I had a lot I personally needed to let go:

control/abuse
sudden deaths
personal injustices

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Then there’s all the corporate injustice that urks me deep down in my soul – the kind that keeps me awake at night.

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We each have our own challenges.
We’ve all been hurt.
We all struggle.

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I’ve discovered in my own life that my struggle with forgiveness was rooted in a misunderstanding of what forgiveness really is.
I had it all mixed up.
That held me back for years.

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This week’s post, therefore, is about what forgiveness is NOT.
Next week: What forgiveness is.
The following week: how to obtain it.
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For those who prefer to listen, here’s an MP3 of today’s article.


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Let’s get started.

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Lie #1: Forgiveness is NOT declaring that what was done to us was OK.

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I used to think that if I forgave those who hurt me, then in some way I was giving in and stating to those people that what they said or did to me was ok.  Because of that misunderstanding, I was kept from releasing those instances and those people…. for YEARS!
Forgiveness has NO connection to condoning the wrongful actions of others.

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Lie #2: Forgiveness does not mean there will never be justice.
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Sometimes we think that if we forgive, then we have to release our desire to see justice. This is not true.
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I can think of the Boston Marathon bombing, for instance.
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Can I release the bombers from my heart and forgive what was done?
In time …  yes.

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Does that mean they should be let go to roam the world and bomb other events and hurt our people?
NO! I can forgive them and at the same time, seek justice for all who have been injured or killed in this heinous act of cowardice.

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Lie #3: Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting.

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When I think about this misunderstanding, the first thing that comes to my mind is an abused woman/man. I lived through and have studied domestic violence for many years. I know that this is only a small part of what keeps people in their personal prison. This misunderstanding, however,  is a powerful piece of the equation.
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Many will say, “I should forgive the abuse and forget it happened because that is the higher moral stance.”
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The truth, however, is that when we forget a habitual act of abuse, we help to perpetuate the problem by refusing to address it or flee.

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We can and should forgive. In many instances, it is unwise to forget.

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Lie #4: Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.

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Have you ever had a friend who you trusted with the depths of your heart? Then that friend said something publicly or posted online something that you shared in private?
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Many of us have been through something like this.
Do you want to forgive that person?
Yes, of course. Truth is – these sorts of things hardly ever end our lives.

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Do you want to trust that person at a deep intimate level again?
Probably not.
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When someone breaks trust at such a personal level the first time, unless there is a concerted effort towards inner growth, it’s likely that the trust will be broken a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time too.

Proceed with caution towards reconciliation.
Proceed with gusto towards forgiveness.

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A quick review:
Forgiveness is not declaring that what was done to us was ok.
Forgiveness does not mean there will never be justice.
Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting.
Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.

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Can you think of other lies that we believe about forgiveness?

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Do you agree with this list?
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Tell us about it in the comments.

 

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Be sure to share your perspective in the comments! Your voice matters!
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