I can hear you groaning through the screen at the title of this blog entry because that would have been my reaction once upon a time. I have written numerous times about my goal to stop nursing the bitterness to free myself, but I absolutely would not embrace the term forgiveness because what was done to me was unforgiveable.
About a year ago, my dearest friend betrayed me, and her betrayal triggered many of my childhood issues surrounding trust. After months of intense bitterness and anger (all well-deserved), I felt led to forgive her … not because she deserved it (nobody being forgiven ever “deserves” it) but because doing so would free me. I used the tools provided in Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word, of praying blessings over this person who had hurt me so badly. Over a period of months, I released the bitterness, and it was replaced by peace.
Next, I felt led to do the same thing with my mother/abuser. If you have read any of my blog entries about my mother, you know how difficult this was for me. I did this for several months, and the same thing happened – I was able to release my bitterness in a way that had not been possible before.
In May, I saw my mother/abuser for the first time in 4-1/2 years because we were both invited to my nephew’s high school graduation. While seeing my mother/abuser was not enjoyable, I got through it with grace and without taking away from the reason we had come together – to celebrate my nephew’s accomplishments. I don’t believe I could have done this if I had not spent the prior several months praying blessings over her. I truly do not wish her harm, and I hope that she will one day know peace – not because she deserves it but because I have made the choice to let go of my bitterness toward her.
I have no desire to reconcile with either of these people – not with my ex-friend or my mother/abuser – because neither is repentant for her betrayal. Unless and until they are repentant, including taking full responsibility for their betrayals, any possibility of reconciliation is off the table.
That being said, if the day ever comes that either of them fully own up to the damage they inflicted on me and choose to offer me a sincere apology, I’ll be able to have that conversation without the weight of unresolved anger and bitterness because I have forgiven them both. I will feel no obligation to walk with them again, but I will also be able to sincerely wish them well because I am finished with harboring anger and bitterness toward them. I am free to live my life without feeling tethered to them.
Photo credit: Microsoft