Saturday, March 7, 2015

Post Estrangement: 40 Days of Reflections on Forgiveness

I am struggling with the concept of forgiveness.  I have dedicated time to reading and studying this concept. Every day I sit at my writing desk and wrestle with the idea.

Am I making progress?  I honestly don't know.  I am at day 17 and I think if anything I am more confused than when I started.

Here a my musings for today.  Please feel free to share with me you insights with me.  

Is forgiveness the only path forward or are there other options?

There are many pressures on me to say the words “I forgive you”.  I am the one that has been wronged and yet I am also the one pressured to forgive the wrong doer.  It is like not only am I a victim of the abuse now I am also a victim of pressure to “conform” to the forgiveness trajectory. I am made to feel guilt for not being able to honestly and with conviction say “I forgive” even if you, the wrongdoer, do not repent.

If healing means moving forward and not remaining "fixed" or "stuck" in the hurt; is forgiveness really the only way to do this? I do not want to become frozen in the past event or even the ongoing event so if not forgiveness what then?

The fact that I can’t forgive an evil and hurtful action does not make me a bad person. If I give in, under pressure, to say something I do not feel I would be untrue to myself and that is a wound I cannot / will not inflict upon myself. Why should I betray my own emotions to say words that I do not feel? To betray myself after being betrayed by others does not right the wrong.

I cannot “force” forgiveness if it is not something in me that I can give at this point in time.  If there is no regret or apology spoken by the perpetrator, and there is no pressure on them to do so, why should there be pressure on me to offer forgiveness?

I can let go of the past, I can stop hanging on, I can accept that there is no need to retaliate, I can possibly even stop hating what has been done to me. But to forgive an action, that is repeated every day, an actions that is an in my face insolence done with the intent to cause me pain, no this I do not think I can do.

To say words I do not mean or feel is “hollow”.
Saying words I do not feel will not make me feel better nor will they make my life any easier.

Who really gains from my words of forgiveness?
The perpetrator! 
Those people who push the forgiveness formula upon me.

Right now the best I can do is say I am open to being forgiving when the wrongful action stops and some words of repentance are spoken to me. This is my truth.  This is an honest statement that I can live with. This is my area of control.  This is where I can find peace.

This is not to say that I will not continue to wrestle with the concept of forgiveness.  But this is how I feel now. This is where my heart is at this point in time as I struggle with my healing and attempt to learn and grow from this experience.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2015 - 03 - 07

photo credits - as marked or unknown


  1. I don't have to "forgive" anything. People love to pressure us and blame us all over again... first because we were injured, and now because we haven't "forgiven." They can all go to you-know-where! I don't have to "forgive." The abuser has to live with what they did, and so do I. They will have to answer for what they did in this world and the next. I have to find a way to live with what they did.

    Period. End. Poo. End of story. Dear God please show us The Way.
    Gracias, Amen.

  2. Right: if they ever want to make sincere "amends" I will be waiting with open arms. I expect respect and consideration too, and real amends... not just empty words. Let them ask for forgiveness. We don't have to give it to people who don't think they did anything wrong, or don't care if they did anything wrong! Our culture is so misguided in so many ways. It's as if it's geared to keep the abusers in business NO MATTER WHAT. When will people wake up and put blame and shame where it belongs? When will victim shaming and victim blaming end? I'm tired of it and I'm ready for a cultural change.

  3. Excellent post!! We have been told only one side, which is abusive. Luke 17:3 says, "If he repents, forgive him." And this does not mean shallow words. Repentance is an action which produces fruit (Matt 3:8), which they must prove. And how long does it take to produce fruit? Sometimes many years, carefully tending the delicate plant. Not being nice one day and yelling the next, or threatening to cut you off again. Jesus does not want us to be used or abused. Mothers are to Honored....