In broken relationships and marriages, forgiveness is probably the hardest thing to do when the person you trusted has hurt you. Revenge becomes your immediate goal instead of trying to understand, fix, and heal. When trust is lost, it takes a huge amount of work to get it back, but it is not impossible. It takes work, dedication, and consistency to get through it. However, no matter how hard you work, if the other person cannot forgive you, then you will never move forward.
Why is forgiveness important? To those who believe in the Bible, it states, “to err is human and to forgive is divine.” Forgiveness starts the healing process, and it allows those involved to rebuild their relationship if they choose to do so. Forgiveness does not condone any thing, but it is the initial step to move forward, leaving behind the hate and pain. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness or vulnerability. It promotes strength and health, and it gets rid of the depression and hatred. The key is once you have been forgiven, you learn from it and change your behavior forever.
After forgiveness has been established, trust has to be restored. Allwomentalk.com provides 9 ways to help rebuild trust. 1. Admit your mistakes. 2. Be humble 3. Have patience 4. Noticeable changes 5. Don’t forget the little things 6. Never, never lie!- I cannot overstate the importance of lying. You cannot move forward if you continue to lie. It causes more hatred, more issues of mistrust, it damages your integrity, it damages your relationship, and you could end up losing the best person who has ever walked into your life. 7. Keep your issues private- There is no need to tell your kids, your friends, family, or anyone else except a relationship professional about what is going on. Many times the people you think you can trust will have alterative motives, and they will try to persuade you to think and act a certain way to meet their own personal agenda. 8. Be thoughtful 9. Do not make the same mistake twice.
Forgiveness is a process, and it is not as easy as cutting the lights on or off. There are a lot of emotions, but if two people are committed to one another, they can get through it TOGETHER. There is another side of forgiveness I would like to mention. There seems to be some confusion that when someone forgives, they are condoning the behavior of the other person. In contrast, what is really happening is the person forgiving no longer is ACTING like the victim. I am not saying they are not the victim per se, but they have decided to not act like one… i.e. revenge, more lying, bringing up the past, depression, or threat of suicide. They have decided to give the person and the relationship an honest chance at rebuilding. In many cases, the forgiveness brings them closer together and makes them stronger. More than anything it provides a wider lens and perspective to past, current, and future events.
In the end, only you can decide if you want to continue to live in misery and despair, or you can forgive, learn from it, and make yourself and the relationship better. To reiterate, forgiveness is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a sign of strength, fortitude, and resiliency. Reinhold Niebuhr said it best, “forgiveness is the final form of love.”