Why Other People’s forgiveness may not be for you

I’m concerned.

I have been watching a reality television show about a popular gospel group.

I know that people learn lessons from television. I do too.  To an extent.

Y’all do know that taking advice from other people about their situations is like taking other people’s prescription medications.  It might not always work.  You need a little more information.

About this forgiveness thing.

There are miracles in forgiveness.

A mother forgives the ex-husband who murdered all of their children to get back at her.  Miracle.

A wife forgives the man who killed her husband in a DUI accident.  Miracle.

An adult Survivor of sexual violence forgives the people who abused him when he was a child.  Miracle.

A wife forgives the husband who cheated on her with multiple women. Miracle.

Well then she takes him back and they are happy again. Miracle?

Skid marks.

Okay. Uhhh…that last part.

1.  Just because you forgive doesn’t mean that you have to go back in.

I am a woman of faith. But for my faith, I am not here today.

I have worked with persons dealing with domestic violence for a couple of decades now.  The main question people struggle with is whether or not to return.  As advocates, we never make that decision for a person.  It is a personal choice.

Some people can’t understand how people can return.

Imagine this. Your worst nightmare.  Your home catches on fire.

You make it out. You catch your breath and wait a few minutes.  Then you realize that something or someone hasn’t.  You don’t even think about it. You take that first step. You are going back into that structure. Come hell or high water.

People return to situations because they think that it is a possibility that they can somehow change it for the better.

But let’s continue…….

You want to desperately get back into that burning home.

Only your neighbors are holding you back because they know that the chances are high that you won’t make it back out of there.

The only people qualified to go into a burning building are firefighters.  They have the training, the equipment, and both the physical and mental conditioning.  If anyone can get someone out.  It will be them.

I keep reading, “You should forgive because God forgives us.”

This doesn’t mean that we need to go back into a burning situation.  God is equipped to do that.

In cases where there is the presence of domestic violence, we could potentially end up injured.  Even worse,  you and others may never come back out of the situation.

Going back in is a personal choice, but not a miracle.

2. Give people “do right time.”

When I was a kid and you messed up. You got punished.  Privileges swiped.

At some point, the punishment was over. But, you never just got all of your privileges back.

They had to see if you had really learned your lesson.  You earned your privileges back. And man that process was slow.  Parents understood that change takes time.

That was, “do right time.”

Even when people go through sobriety, they mark time with symbols.  I applaud those people each and every time.  I think that the hardest battle one will ever fight is the one that one must fight against themselves.

When you have to face your own inner demons, that is your ultimate battle.

The battle isn’t over once the secret comes to light.  The battle isn’t over once forgiveness is extended.  The internal battle to make changes can rage on for years.

3.  What works for one may not work for you.

I went through a divorce. Let’s see, over 14 years ago I think.  Funny how I have to think about it now.  At the time I didn’t think that I would ever get past it.  I was a wretched mess.

Yes, I was taking other people’s advice about their individual situations.  Other folks’ minds.

Finally, I called another pastor’s wife.  We really didn’t know each other well, we were just acquainted.  In fact, I looked her number up in the white pages.

When I reached her, I just unloaded.  I was crying hysterically.  I told her I didn’t even know what to pray anymore.

She gave me one of the wisest pieces of advice I’ve heard in my life.

She said, “Maybe you should try, any way you bless me Lord.”

She went on.  “You don’t have to know what to ask Him for, He knows what you need.”

I was so afraid to pray that.  What if it meant we would end up divorced?

It did mean that.

Thank God! {Praise Break}

I forgave my ex-husband-from a distance  That allowed me to walk forward.

I wouldn’t have grown this tall had we stayed together. I wouldn’t be this far along in my healing. I wouldn’t be the woman I love seeing in the mirror.

And, I would never have found my husband.  Love. Yaay!

This is just a blog post. I think this requires a lot more reading and discussion.

I highly recommend this book:  Keeping the Faith:  Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse by Reverend Marie M. Fortune

Tonya GJ Prince
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Tonya GJ Prince

Tonya is a Social Justice Info Expert with over 23 years experience. She holds a BS in Organizational Management & Development. Her cat MiaBelle is her co-writer.
Tonya GJ Prince
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