Note: For some reason WordPress is not allowing me to insert spaces between paragraphs. Apologies…
No guest post today. I have something that needs to be said:
Relationships are tough.
Not just romantic, but, family, friends, co-workers, etc.
Because I’m a very relationship oriented person, I am constantly in a state of determining if a relationship is right for me.
Now that I am making INTENTIONAL steps to greatness, I find that I have been examining my relationships more frequently.
One of the most challenging things about relationships is the area of forgiveness.
“Forgive and forget.”
“Forgiveness is not for the offender, but, so that you can move on.”
“If you love me, you will forgive me.”
“The greatest display of love for someone is forgiveness.”
“We must forgive, otherwise our sins won’t be forgiven.”
With ALL that we have been taught about forgiveness, there’s a VERY closely related subject matter that most people don’t talk about.
Here’s are several definitions of the base word “reconcile” from Merriam Webster:
“to restore to friendship or harmony “
“to make consistent or congruous “
“to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant”
Does forgiving someone mean that you MUST reconcile with them?
I pose the question, because when dealing with family members, more often than not, we choose to reconcile. Unless the offense is so terribly egregious, we allow ourselves to choose to find a way to make nice and continue in the relationship.
But, when it’s not family, what do you decide?
Because you have forgiven someone, does that mean you MUST reconcile with them?
I happen to think not. And the older I get, the more adamant I get in that stance. OUCH! (I know, I’ve been told I’m BRUTALLY honest – not trying to hurt anyone, but, just telling the truth!)
Apparently, I recently offended someone when offering advice about their approach in a business matter. They were so offended, they felt like I was blocking their blessing. I was not offended by their response on a personal level. But, as a subject matter expert who dealt with those situations on a regular basis, AND as the person they called on for FREE business advice several times before, I did take note of the person’s response. While this is not someone I have known for a long time, they were someone I was acquainted with on more than a business level.
Recently, the person reached out to me to apologize.
Here’s the thing: While I appreciate the apology, I was never offended. So there’s nothing for me to forgive.
Based on the way that the person responded, I have made a decision not to offer advice to that person again. Why? Because I was able to see a character flaw that I CHOOSE not to deal with. Does that mean I think I’m perfect? Absolutely not. It just means that I made a decision that this person got more value from my relationship with them, than I got from their relationship with me and I don’t want to spend my “relationship money” in that bank any more because I have now lost interest.
(And no, I can’t think of a “nicer” way to put that!)
Now back to my original question:
Does forgiving someone mean that you must reconcile with them?
And now I want to up the ante:
Even if it is a family member, or someone we have known for a very long time, must we ALWAYS reconcile as a sign of forgiveness?
Are forgiveness and reconciliation truly connected or can there be forgiveness without reconciliation?
If you notice the third definition above is “to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant”.
Are we holding ourselves hostage to unhealthy relationships out of guilt? Do we feel obligated to continue depositing ourselves into the bank of those who continually drain us of the value of our relationships?
If so, it’s YOUR choice. I’ve made mine and couldn’t be happier!