So this is a subject that I’ve touched on in the past here and there, and made mention of from time to time. But I’d always include a quick reference or a few sentences, only to follow with: “but that’s a whole other blog for a whole other day.” I just haven’t really been able to bring myself to write about it, or to share in detail this part of my story. So I’ve put it off. Mainly I’ve just told myself, “you can’t write about this yet, because you haven’t figured it out yet. Not all of it anyway.” And I really, really like things to be neat and tidy. A nice little package that I can present. Something that even though it may start out ugly and messy and chaotic, I can eventually make some sense out of and give some order and hopefully help not just myself but others in the process.
Which is why sometimes I find it very ironic that this situation, these circumstances were the path life gave me. Because there is absolutely nothing neat or sensical or orderly about infidelity, betrayal, or the process you go through to heal from it.
Yet somehow, we’ve found our way. And I wish I could tell you there was a trick. A specific way to survive it. While there is a long list of things I can and have shared with you that you could and should do that will help you tremendously in your recovery and rebuilding of your life, no matter the circumstance, there’s one basic thing that it comes down to.
Keep moving. One foot in front of the other. One NEW day at a time.
It’s worked to get us through everything else, and so I have to believe that it will help me find my way to a better place with this too.
So, for as long as I’ve put this off, I’ve decided putting it off just serves to keep me stuck. The only way to work through it is to work through it. I can choose to be complacent and say that I’ll never be able to figure this out and stay stuck, or I can keep moving, keep pushing forward and find a fullness in the redemption of our story that I know we haven’t begun to touch yet. As good as we are, I can’t shake this feeling that there’s so much more, something so much bigger that we haven’t even imagined.
So that whole other day is today I guess. Might as well go ahead and dive on in. One foot in front of the other right?
The subject I’m talking about is forgiveness. It’s something I never had to give much thought to before. No one had ever truly hurt me. Not in a big way anyway. But this. This was betrayal on another level. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Not the little stuff, but the life changing, selfish, cruel, and deceitful kind of transgressions.
And when you’re faced with that kind of pain, those kinds of scars, and especially when you’re faced with someone that is seemingly unapologetic for the damage they have done; you suddenly realize that forgiveness doesn’t make sense. You wonder what forgiveness truly means. What it actually looks like. And mostly you wonder what it’s supposed to feel like. And how to know when it’s real, and not just empty words said because you know it’s the right thing to do. Especially when you can’t even think the words without still feeling the contempt rise up within you. How do you find a way to truly mean it and not have those feelings of resentment and anger? How do you move past wanting to be able to say you forgive someone, but also still having an overwhelming desire to punch them in the face?
Forgiveness is something that in one case, such as someone like my husband that is so incredibly sorry, though it didn’t happen overnight is almost easy now, and allows me to have a relationship and a future that would have otherwise been impossible.
Yet in another; the case of forgiveness of someone that offers no apology, someone that gives no indication that they regret causing you pain, like the woman he had the affair with, brings me anxiety, frustration, anger ,and resentment.
People tend to oversimplify it. They say “The bible says you have to forgive, so you just have to do it.” Or they say, “just keep saying it until you mean it.” Which is not actually terrible advice, there’s some real truth and power in speaking things not as they are but as you want them to be. But also… man, that can take a really long time. I mean, I’ve tried this method off and on for nearly 2 years now, and I’m still not feeling it. But I do agree that it’s a good place to start. It’s the getting to the place where you actually mean it, the place where you can actually wish them well, the place where you are able to see them with some semblance of compassion instead of hatred, that I’ve struggled with.
So what DO I know about forgiveness?
Nothing about forgiveness is easy.
Forgiveness is costly. While it is freely given, it is most certainly not free, not for the one doing the forgiving anyway.
However, not forgiving is also costly.
Forgiveness always includes sacrifice.
Forgiveness is precious.
Forgiveness brings freedom.
Forgiveness is a process.
Forgiveness is a continual choice.
Forgiveness is not just a gift to the offender, but a gift to yourself.
Forgiveness is not always deserved, but always necessary. …. I think. Ok, ok. I know it is. But this is one of the thought processes that I struggle with. I think to myself, “do I really HAVE to forgive her?”
And the answer is honestly a resounding “NO”. I absolutely don’t have to. There is always a choice. I can choose not to. And a really big part of me doesn’t want to. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t want my forgiveness. And I mostly imagine that she certainly doesn’t deserve it. Mostly because she hasn’t asked for it. So why should I forgive her?
It’s pretty easy to just choose not to forgive. Sooo much easier than doing the work to try to figure out a way to forgive and mean it. So yes, I could definitely choose not to forgive her.
But does that choice bring anything good to my life? The answer to that is also a resounding “NO”.
I want the good stuff in my life, and to get that, I have to choose the stuff that brings the goodness.
So true forgiveness is a mystery that I will continue to intentionally pursue, an understanding that I do not have in full yet, but I choose to believe that through this process, I will find it.
I say that, having no idea even what the process is really going to look like, but just stepping forward with God’s promise that says “seek and you shall find.” And one of my favorites, Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
How to truly forgive someone that doesn’t seem to be sorry definitely falls into the category of a great and mighty thing that I do not know.
Also I believe there’s a great and mighty thing that he is working in our lives, the fullness of which we do not know yet, so that verse speaks to my soul in many different ways.
And seeing as how I’ve taken you all with me through everything else, I’m going to bring you along for this too. The good the bad and the ugly, that’s what I have said I would share from the beginning, and I’m pretty sure this subject is going to cover all three of those adjectives. With everything else, writing about it has seemed to help me work through it and find what I’m looking for, or to see things in a different light, or at the very least help me come to terms with it, and I’m hopeful that will be the case with this too.
To be continued…
❤️ Amy Thurston Gordy