We have all heard Christ’s answer when asked how often we should forgive those who trespass against us. Christ told us that we need to forgive till 70 times 7 if necessary. This can be a lifelong trial for some. It certainly has been for me.
For those that have been victimized especially by someone who we should be able to trust forgiveness does not come easy. Even when we do forgive we certainly cannot forget or trust that person again. We can become bitter and mistrustful of everything they do and say. This can be even more difficult when your abuser is a member if your family.
Here in is the very problem I am dealing with now. I spent the first 20 years of my life being manipulated abused and victimized by the one person who should of cared for me. I was never a victim of physical abuse but rather severe psychological abuse, manipulation and generally was despised and hated simply for being alive.
I feel as though I have forgiven everything that has happened to me yet I have consitentley had the problem of not being able to leave it in the past as problem continue to arise and resurface when I have interactions with this person. There was a time when I would not speak to this person for several years before I got married. For a reason to this day I do not understand I still cared enough about this person to try again to re-establish a relationship Right before I got married. The attempt failed spectacularly as once again this person attempted to establish control over me. Again we did not speak for quite sometime. When our first daughter came into our lives I tried again.
Over the last 10 years or so it has been a consistent struggle to maintain civility in the relationship. I have ignored a lot of what has been said and done, bent over backwards and given into demands to accomidate this person despite the emotional abuse, power tripping and manipulating they have thrown at me over the years. The fact that this person lives in another province and has for quite sometime, and as a result is only seen a few times a year is the only thing that has until recently prevented a complete breakdown of the relationship.
About 7 months ago all hell broke loose and once again for the third time I have cut this person out of my life. Now they want to see my kids and have sadly gotten other members of the family involved. I am getting messages from other family members from this person requesting to see my kids and even bribes of a free car all in the hopes that I will accept that and open up the door again.
Do I need to accept the offer in order to forgive. Have I truly forgiven if I can’t forget? My heart mind and soul struggle deeply with this. Every time a conflict comes up with this person the past comes flooding back and old wounds begin to fester and rot once again. Nothing seems to change and I am hurt again and again.
So inevitably the questions comes up can I forgive while still cutting this person out of my life and do I dare let them back in if they do apologize for what they have done? Do I dare take the risk? It is often said that holding a grudge only hurts the one holding it. I admit that I do hold a lot of resentment, anger and hostility towards this person. Most of the time it does not bother me, however times Like this I can not let go of these feelings of bitterness and hatred.
I feels as though I have forgiven all yet I still feel angry over the whole situation. There are others that I can say with 100% confidence I have forgiven for things they have done. I can see a few reason for this. I no longer associate with them and for those that I do associate with still, there have not been any problems and there has been change for the better.
Many in this world suffer at the hands of others. This is because of there free agency, however we have been told in the scriptures that we must forgive others.
3rd nephi 3:14-15
14 For, if ye aforgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
This is certainly something that is easier said than done. Harder still when the one we need to forgive is someone that cannot be avoided for life. Up to about 7 months ago I had not even thought about the trauma and abuse that had been inflicted upon me. Once again the relationship broke down and brought back all the pain and suffering that was inflicted upon me by this person. After cutting them out of my life I once again forgot all about it. I felt as though I had forgiven them as I was not dwelling on it and was not thinking about it. Now that this person is using other members of my family to try to get to me all that past history comes back again.
“Therefore, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; or if thy brother offend thee and confess not and forsake not, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell.”
Sometimes when dealing with those who consitantly tresspass against you this is the only and best way to deal with it. It is important that we forgive those who tresspass against us, however at the same time we do not need to keep opening our selves up to hurt, and abuse again and again. Sometimes we need to shut the door and though we have forgiven we need to ensure that those old wounds cannot be openned again. The process can be painful but we need to protect our selves as well.
I do not believe that our Lord and God would have us continue to be victim of those who refuse to change or acknowledge when they have done wrong. While he would expect us to forgive those who harm us, I do not believe he will fault us for withdrawing from those that hurt us. God wants us to be able to live happy and productive lives. That is not something that we can do while constantly subjecting our selves to abuse, manipulation, and control. I pray that God can help me overcome the anger, hostility and resentment that haunts my soul, God knows that everytime I think I am over it, It just ends in disaster again.
Have you forgiven those that have hurt you?