Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Forgiveness and Trust

I think the correlation between forgiveness and trust--what a relationship with someone who has wronged you should look like once you've forgiven them--is something that a lot of people struggle with. If I've forgiven someone, shouldn't I trust them?  If I've really forgiven them, shouldn't our relationship be cozy and warm?

Not necessarily.  Sometimes, a little distance is OK.  You will always hear me advocate for forgiveness, and I do think it is important to extend more opportunities for trust when someone has shown remorse and accepted moral responsibility for a mistake, be it inadvertent or intentional.  I am constantly amazed by the mercy that the Lord shows to me, often in the form of new opportunities to "get it right", so far be it from me to hold grudges or deny opportunities for relationship growth to other individuals who fail.  Failing to give someone another chance when they have shown remorse and expressed a sincere desire to change whatever was wrong, simply because you can't let it go, is a terrible sin to my way of thinking.

"Of you it is required to forgive all men."  Not all men who repent.  Not even all men who recognize they've done anything wrong.  All men.  The commandment to forgive has no caveats.  I believe forgiveness means no anger;  forgiveness is a sincere desire to see things go well for someone, a hope that they can and will become the best possible version of themselves and be happy, a willingness to serve them.  It doesn't mean you put your heart, or any aspect of your well-being, in their hands.

If every time you've stood near a cliff with someone, he's pushed you off, you'd be a fool to keep standing next to him.  That's not forgiveness--its stupidity.  If he does acknowledge that he pushed you, that it was wrong, and swears that he won't do it again, its OK to start with a high curb.  If he pushes you again, don't go up on the cliff.  Don't stand next to him anywhere.  Forgiveness means you let go of any anger, resentment, or hurt, and that you are happy to give service they need that is within your capacity to provide.  It doesn't mean you have to keep putting yourself in a dangerous position to make them feel better about themselves.

It doesn't matter what other people think of your relationship, your attitude or your approach, so long as you are at peace with your Savior about it.  Sometimes, people don't show the same side or tell the same story to everyone, and so people will undoubtedly form judgments of your judgments based on what they have experienced or heard, regardless of whether or not it bears any resemblance to the experiences that have led you to your choices.  Be patient with them: we all have times where we pass judgments while failing to see the whole picture, and chances are those souls have no desire to hurt you or criticize you.  More often than not, they simply want to believe what is most comfortable for them to believe.  We all want that--sometimes we have that luxury and sometimes we don't.  Strive to see the best in others, even when they fail to see the best in you.

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