The definition of forgiveness is a rather interesting look at how selfish we can be or how free we can be. It's a choice. While that may sound crazy, lets take a look at it. Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven and/or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, apology, and/or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.
Forgiveness is more than just this definition, it includes our hearts and our Heavenly Father. It took many years for me to be able to forgive my Dad and many other family members for turning my world upside down. I wasn't really able to start living until I did. When I forgave my Dad, I wasnt excusing and forgetting the wrong he committed. By all means, it doesnt mean that I had to embrace him with open arms. I forgave but was wise enough to set up boundries and limited contact. The process of forgiveness was more for my heart and I knew that God would provide more justice than I could ever imagine. I was so angry and just wanted him to suffer or understand the suffering I went through growing up. Once I realized that my heart was full of bitterness, I knew it was time to let go. Bitterness is so ugly and unattractive in any woman or man for that matter. I forgave my Daddy over 6 years ago and much has changed since then. On a side note, it's an honor to say that Ive been conversing weekly with my Dad now. He has been sober/drug free for more than 4 months and have NEVER met the man he's become!
Anyhow, when it comes to friendships I have forgiven even though the hurt is still there. While I may have less friends, Im happier about the process because Im finding the ones that are truly there by my side no matter the distance. Im also finding that relying on God and intuition is so important in choosing whom I decide to hang out with. If something is not quite right about how you feel at the moment, take a moment to sort out why its nagging at you. Some friendships can be destructive and needy. It's okay to set up boundries and put them at a safe distance. As for my situation, it was fairly simple to do since law enforcement became involved :-) Yes, no joke!
Im thankful for the comments and friends who've invited me over for coffee, and for those who are willing to take a stand and remind me to not let this become a root of bitterness in my heart. It's been quite the process to live out in front of my children and Im thankful I can show them that forgiveness may not be easy but its necessary! If comforting to know that the hands that shaped this world also see's my troubles and holds me in His hands right through it. Check out the video. Christain or not you will love it!