This Sunday, we had a lesson in church about repentance and forgiveness, which had been on my mind a lot this week. The million dollar question weighing on me (which didn’t come up at church that day) was this:
Do you have to tell somebody that you have forgiven them, if you have forgiven them, but you don’t want them to be back in your life?
Having to write someone out of my life is not easy to do and is not something I do without cause or compassion. But sometimes, the impact of a person’s influence on me is serious and because of disappointment or poor judgment it is necessary to completely disengage from the relationship for a period of time, if not indefinitely. You do this and hope that forgiveness will come. When forgiveness does happen, is it always appropriate to welcome a person back into your life?
This difference between “period of time” vs.”indefinitely” is what I have been thinking about. What is appropriate? What would the Savior do?
Last year, this week, feeling some compelling promptings to do so, I decided to write someone off. After years of struggling to reconcile an important difference with someone with huge influence on my life, I realized I just had to say goodbye (more on that conflict here) and cut my losses. I wrote the most respectful letter I could think of and explained why our relationship could not continue. I can honestly say that after I did so, almost immediately, everything that I felt confused about became much more clear. My testimony grew and I began to feel the spirit more abundantly, so I knew that I was on the right path. As much as I do love and respect this individual, I felt a huge burden lift and I was much happier and more confident in my daily life as I continued to keep my distance. Doing so also gave me courage to stand up for myself in other relationships as well, which made me even happier. I discovered almost overnight a complete difference in my level of happiness and confidence in general. Knowing that I would not have to carry around another person’s perception of me, which I am not responsible for, was and continues to be an extremely liberating feeling.
That said, the time and space apart have helped me to forgive more completely. I credit that to the Lord, who made forgiveness possible. Because my heart has softened up a little, I am not as sure about keeping my distance. I’d like this individual to know that I am happy and doing well, that I have let everything go, but if I could telepathically send that message that would be ideal, because I still have no desire to talk or catch up. I remember reading a talk once that said “make room in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in.” Well, the time has come and I have welcomed it and I am grateful for it, but I have come to the conclusion that, at least for now, forgiveness does not equal “welcome back” – it just means that I can move on with my life happily, and confidently, without any major scars.
Can anyone else relate?