So let’s face it, for forgiveness to happen, there must have been offence, hurt or pain and in some cases an apology. When an offence is committed against us, it causes pain. Now pain, especially emotional pain is something deep and perhaps consuming and could be really hard to heal from.
Forgiveness is healing. Healing from that pain, letting go the hurt, the resentment, the rage and anger we may hold that resulted from that particular offence. Forgiveness is a process and most of the time, this is where we get things wrong.
Sometimes hurt and offence happens and when the offender says their apologies, they may hold some sense of self righteousness, a sense of doing right and a sense of entitlement to our forgiveness. But is forgiveness the sad nod or weak yes we give after we hear the words , “i am sorry?” Is it that simple? Wouldn’t it be alright to deny our forgiveness verbally and offer it when and if the healing actually happens?
Now look! Pain hurts, so does holding in the rage, the anger, the resentment. I come from a place of pain when i say that it is going to eat at you with every breath you take. Pain is way too ruthless especially when it is inflicted by those dearest to us. No, it doesnt have to be physical. It’s those mini aggressions that cut the deepest. The kind of abuse in which the victims don’t even dare say the word and the offender doesn’t realise that what they have done is an act of abuse. The mini aggressions that make you say things like, “he/she might as well have hit me……
The point is, should you say “yes i forgive you” when they ask? What if they don’t?
My answer to you is quite simple. From experience i say, “DON’T”. You deserve healing. Yes you! I have had my fair share of pain and with it has come forgiveness. Forgiveness that they didn’t even ask for, forgiveness they genuinely asked for, fake apologies and so on! The thing is that even with a really genuine apology, you are entitled to your pain so you are absolutely allowed to deny the forgiveness until you are ready to give it.
So what happens when you say “yes i forgive you” before you heal from the damage and let the pain go? The offender will go to sleep peaceful perhaps, but will you? Now don’t get me wrong. Perhaps it is not a good idea to let them know you are not ready to forgive but you hurt even deeper from saying that yes that you do not mean inside. You deserve healing as well as they do but perhaps even more so than they do. Give yourself that. Hold onto your forgiveness. Do the healing first. After that , your forgiveness is genuine and does not leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Now i did once say to someone that i forgave them, but still spoke in my head about the hurt they caused and it made me even angrier. Brings me back to the bottom line which is, that forgiveness is healing but not in the order that is widely preached. It is actually matter of fact, the otherway round. You heal first and that enables you to forgive.
Forgiveness is not for the broken. It is for the brave, the warriors, the survivors. Now am not implying that failing to forgive makes you any less. Absolutely not. Even warriors bleed. The most important thing is to put in the work and do what it takes to heal. That is hard i know. Unfortunately, that is work you have to do yourself. Of course it helps to seek help. Talk to a trusted party, take distance from the source of pain if you need to do. Do what you have to, to heal because trust me, you have the power to withhold the forgiveness but until the healing happens, until forgiveness takes place, you will find it pretty hard to be comfortable in certain situations, with certain people, perhaps that is a shadow, a weight you do not want to carry. Let it go. But do not be rushed. At your own pace because we all deal with pain differently. Do not be told to get over it or that you can not resent an apology. Of course you can.
That also bring me to the point where i must mention how fragile emotions are to hurt. Before you open your mouth to speak towards, about and to someone, stand in their shoes and imagine them speaking of you the same way. The same goes for actions. Let us all treat one another with kindness. Those mini aggressions, rude gestures hurt the most and repeated over a time period can be absolutely damaging.
As for forgiveness that is not seeked or asked for, unfortunately, it is ours to give or hold back but i suggest we give it. Giving it releases us from the chains of hate, pain and rage. If the offender is dumb enough to not ask for forgorviness even after substantial emotional distress and pain results from their actions, it is not worth it holding that pain in, hurting over something they did while they roam around spreading pain. Seek for healing, forgive them but learn to protect yourself and your emotions from their kind.