I admit this up front. There are some people I can’t love up close! Men and women whose presence in my life at close range creates so much havoc for me that I struggle to forgive what they do and how their havoc negatively impacts me – and everything in my life! These are the folks who just when I think I’ve worked through and found a level of forgiveness and peace – come close and do it again! And the folks may be family, friends or business acquaintances.
Now granted, the psychological guru’s would say, “you let it happen; therefore you bear some of the blame!” And there is a grain of truth in what they say. Problem is, that doesn’t help. Nor does it change the fact that I once again must engage in the struggle to come to terms with and forgive that which has caused heartache and pain. . .
Let me ask you a deeply personal question to which you’ll respond honestly. Not here in a comment; but at home in the depths of your heart and mind: “Are there such folks in your lives?”
That’s easy. I mean most of us can answer “yes, of course”. But what if the next question is “Have you forgiven them? 70 x 7?” Frankly that’s where I get hung up. And not only in the 70 x 7 bit; but in being able to remember what happened without the accompanying emotion (in one case, tears that won’t easily stop).
Years ago, I learned that one way to know if I had forgiven was when I remembered something that had been painful, it was without the accompanying emotion of the event. In other words, remembering it as having been in the past and no longer a source of pain.
I spent much of early 2015 with painful memories from my young adult years. The person whose behavior prompted the painful memories was suddenly back in my life saying similar hurtful things. Not only that, but it was causing strive between a child and myself. It was a dark life period. In an effort to understand the why of the angst I felt; I came to understand how much damage the person had done when I was a young married woman and mother. That was a positive outcome!
Finally I made a decision that hopefully will let me forgive without having to go through the process 70 x 7. Given the age of the other; and the negative impact of the truth on family members, I made the best decision for us all. And that is. . .
“Love at a distance!” Don’t permit myself to be in a situation where hurtful behavior can be repeated; thus the need to forgive over and over again. Not only is this the best decision in family matters; but in business and life in general!
Some might say it’s avoiding the admonition to forgive 70 x 7. But if I continue to let myself be drawn into what I know will become a hurtful encounter – then I continue to bear part of the problem. The same is true for all of us!
Others might tell me it’s not “Christian”. It’s not Christian to hold things against others when we can make decisions to avoid those things in the first place. We don’t have to be gluttons for punishment as my Mom used to say!
The truth is – some folks may never change, as behavior has become a lifestyle. But we can change our behavior so that over time, we forgive what occurred in the past. And in so doing; come to love the difficult folks at a distance.
Think about having to forgive 70 x 7 times because we don’t change our dealings with those who hurt us over and over again. Think of the energy it takes to do so. And think of how it perpetuates a situation that can easily be resolved by simply keeping one’s distance. Even if that distance is as simple as having 10 or so folks between the person and me. . .
I’m not perfect. None of us are. As Christian women, we are called to do many things that are humanly impossible. One of which is to forgive, for forgiveness is divine. When we have a personal up-close relationship with the Father through the Son; then divinity flows in us via the Holy Spirit.
However, as we mature in our faith; we must learn to do many things in our divinely-inspired humanity that requires our humanity to oblige. One of those situations is often forgiving the unforgivable. The person – not the behavior. And if the behavior is not likely to change, for whatever reason – then keeping our distance as much as possible physically and emotionally is the only answer.
Ultimately, we’re called to love others as we love ourselves. The commandment of the Lord doesn’t set a distance from which we must do so. Only that we do it!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner & CEO
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]