A visitor to my blog once asked if forgiving someone for an offense means you must act as though it never happened, especially when the issue in question involves physical or emotional abuse. My answer to this was no, and here’s why.
I don’t believe that Matthew 6:14-15 means one essentially has to roll over, play dead and let the offender have their way with them. However, it can hinder our personal walk with God and essentially result in the other person’s abuse or nastiness controlling your life.
In the comment regarding a post I’d made about forgiveness (scroll down to RandomlyLostandFound‘s comment to see the dialogue), I offered the following advice: “I had to finally reach a place where I bore no ill will towards the person in question, and actively prayed for God to restore whatever was broken in their life that was behind the behavior.”
I’m still finding this advice relevant, regardless of who the persistent offenders are. I can decide to no longer bear ill will towards them, and therefore make sure they have no ability to infringe on my personal happiness.
There are times when you may decide that certain people, for the sake of your physical, emotional or spiritual health simply cannot have a place in your life anymore. Yes, that is okay – by walking separate paths from each other, you are making the choice to live your life in a way that keeps their “drama” from impacting you.
I feel that we must still acknowledge the existence of people that do hurtful things and pray for their release from their the harm they cause. However, we must still look to what is ahead of us – anything less diminishes the abundant life Jesus promised.