Am I Not Supposed To Forgive Seventy Seven Times And Doesn’t Forgiveness Mean Reconciliation? – Part 2 of 6

(Continued from Forgiveness and what blocks our ability to forgive – Part 1 of 6)

Image by english apple flickr.com

One of the biggest fallacies of forgiveness is the idea that forgiving means reconnecting with the other person. It is one of the barriers that block our ability to forgive.

We think that when we forgive the offender, we are supposed to continue the relationship, pick up from where we left off, and live peacefully and harmoniously. And if this doesn’t happen, we haven’t truly and completely forgiven.

Well, guess what?  We can be at peace with them but we may not necessarily have to be with them.  We may live at peace with everyone but we don’t necessarily live with everyone.

Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation.  Neither does reconciliation mean forgiveness has taken place.

In fact, reconciliation is not advisable when there has been an abusive behavior or any form of abuse.  We need to learn to set boundaries and teach others to respect us and our boundaries.

When a person is abusive or poses a threat or danger to you (physically, mentally, verbally, or emotionally), common sense tells you to stay away from the individual.  When you don’t feel safe, you don’t feel supported or nurtured, you don’t feel respected, what reason do you have in continuing to interact with the person?

We may forgive them for the offense they committed but we don’t have to hang out with them.  Especially when the behavior is repetitive.  Doing so makes us a masochist.

And regardless if the individual is a family member or a close friend.  In fact, especially if they are a member of your family or someone close to you.  Because ironically, these are the very people who are supposed to defend you from abusers.  These are the people whom you’re supposed to run to when you’ve been abused.  Not the other way around.

And seldom does an abusive behavior happen only once.  It is usually a pattern.  A pattern that needs to be broken.

Forgive seventy-seven times

Image by Eleven ~:) flickr.com

Another misconception related to this which also blocks our ability to forgive is the idea of “forgiving seventy seven times”.  This does not apply to a single offense or to the same offender.  Yet we take this to mean literally.

It doesn’t mean that if the person offended you seventy-seven times, you will literally continue to pardon him seventy-seven times.  It means that there can be no limit to our ability, capacity, and desire for forgiveness.

We are to strive for a limitless capacity to forgive.  The only way we can master a skill is to continue practicing it.  There is no end to whom, when, what to forgive.

But there is a limit to the kind of behavior or treatment that we allow in our lives.  We are to allow only those that are loving, healthy, supportive, nurturing, respectful, uplifting and empowering.  Those that allow our light to shine brighter, instead of dim them.

Sometimes, situations or circumstances call for us to practice tough love.  Sometimes, we need to be very strong in our resolve and be tough in our conviction and say no, enough. In order to not continue being an enabler.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an enabler as “one that enables another to achieve an end; especially: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse [but not limited to]) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior”.

Image by Valerie McGovern flickr.com

When we give an excuse for the offender’s behavior or justify the offense, we are depriving the offender of the opportunity to reform their ways and realize their wrongdoing.  There are always reasons for a misbehavior. But not all reasons render them acceptable, allowable or permissible.  We always have a choice in anything and everything — including what behavior and treatment we will put up with and allow and accept in our lives.

When we continue to make ourselves available to the abuser or offending party, especially when they haven’t quite realized yet their offense, we are enabling the individual’s behavior and perpetuating it, instead of teaching them the lesson that they need to learn.

When we continue to be in their lives or let them be in our lives, in the absence of true remorse, we are giving the message that what they did is acceptable.  Unknowingly, we are giving them the opportunity to commit the offense again.  And that’s when it becomes a vicious cycle.

Image by sweetheart2911 flickr.com

When we distance ourselves, we give them the chance and the space to reflect and to see the light.  And we can distance ourselves with love and compassion.  That is a crucial step in the process of forgiveness. We need to hold the offender in light and think positive thoughts about them, as we also go through our own healing process.

The reason there continues to be abusers in society is because there continues to be individuals who allow themselves to be abused.

For every abuser, there is a corresponding abused party.  To break the pattern of abuse and offense, the abused individual needs to toughen up, learn to step up, and set the boundaries.  The offended party needs to gain the skill and courage to say no to the abuse or offense, and stop the pattern of being treated with less respect and dignity.  And seek support.

When we allow others to continue to abuse us, when we continue to allow ourselves to be stepped upon, to be taken for granted and disrespected by the offender, we continue to give our power away.  Unless we take back our power, we continue to fuel the offender or abuser to continue their offensive or abusive behavior. To us and to others.

Taking back our power means asserting ourselves and gathering enough courage and strength to fight for our honor and dignity.  In other words, love ourselves enough to say no.

Today:  I will reflect upon situations in my life when I have allowed abuse or have become an enabler.  I am willing to release people and relationships that are not healthy for me.   I will think of ways that I can practice tough love and journal my realizations.”

To be continued

64 Ways in 64 Days Nonviolence Daily Reflections Day 29 – Feb. 27, 2012

From The 15th Annual Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence Jan. 30 to Apr. 4, 2012

 Related articles

Forgiveness and what blocks our ability to forgive – Part 1 of 6

Forgiving and letting God take care of everything – Part 3 of 6

Making amends: The other side of forgiveness – Part 4 of 6

The gift of apologizing and making amends: Expecting nothing in return – Part 5 of 6

# # #

Copyright © 2011-2012 Nadine Marie V. Niguidula, M.A. and Aligning With Truth

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About NadineMarie (Aligning With Truth)

I find much joy & fulfillment in sharing my experiences & insights through writing & blogging. I created the site, ALIGNING WITH TRUTH as a virtual center for healing where I share my thoughts & reflections, as well as the tools & resources that are helping me as I move along the path of awakening & coming home to the Self. As I live in joy & align with Truth, I AM shining my Light which is how I contribute to the planetary & humanity ascension. Blessed be. Namaste...💗💖💜Nadine Marie💜💖💗
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8 Responses to Am I Not Supposed To Forgive Seventy Seven Times And Doesn’t Forgiveness Mean Reconciliation? – Part 2 of 6

  1. yogaleigh says:

    What a good explanation of that separation between forgiveness and reconciliation. I’ve tried to explain it but haven’t been able to do as well.

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    • Yes Leigh, it also took me a while to truly get the concept and then to be able to articulate it. Experience has been my best teacher. Lots of hits and misses. I was raised in an abusive environment so setting boundaries is one of the major lessons I signed up for. Everything I’ve written here is a reflection and learning from my experiences (as is with the rest of my posts). Thanks for visiting and taking time to leave a note. Blessings, love & light, namaste…~N

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  2. Awesome post. I agree with all you say here. I believe forgiveness is all internal and if we’ve released any bad thought or whatever, it’s complete. I like a saying and I’m not sure of it’s author. “Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and then realizing that you were the prisoner”
    Stay blessed!

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  3. reflecting on others reflections plus your post has been invaluable. Having had experience of both sides has been expressed here. So 4giveness frees us, and reconcilliation is a different thing. Thanks for pointing out the difference. Also the fact that its a pattern and that pattern needs breaking for both parties to thrive. You have made that clear for me now.
    Thank you so much for you work here

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  4. Peter Chua says:

    Glad to receive a concrete and practial answer. I was always told that forgiveness mean that we have to let them be in our lives – but by doing so, they think that what they did is acceptable and they will do the same offence again and again. My point is that I forgive, and a the same time, distance myself from them .

    Like

    • Peter, like what I said in my response to Leigh (yogaleigh)’s comments above, it took quite a while for me to get it. And like you Peter, I also thought for the longest time that if I have truly forgiven, then we should all be living happily ever after. I’m glad this post gave you a different perspective. Thank you Peter for visiting and taking the time to share your reflections. Much Blessings, Peace & Joy, Love & Light, Namaste…~Nadine Marie~

      Like

  5. Pingback: The ‘Breakup’ | Aligning With Truth

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