Jack and Jill were at it again. Still arguing. Jill felt like she couldn't forgive Jack. Jack felt like Jill wanted him to completely change. And neither of them knew how to make their relationship better.
They needed to learn to forgive, repent, and focus on restoring their relationship.
Forgiveness is a letting go. It is letting go of:
- Emotional Pain and Hurt
- The Need to Be Right
- The Need for Punishment
Forgiveness is not ignoring consequences. There still needs to be boundaries, even with forgiveness. Even when we forgive someone, there could still be natural consequences for what they did. The relationship still needs to be restored. And frankly, we cannot just forgive and forget something happened. Forgive and forget just doesn't happen.
But we can forgive. We can choose to let go of the emotional hurt and pain, to not have to prove ourselves right, or to not punish the other person. Instead, we can choose to forgive (more on boundaries and consequences later).
The person who has damaged the relationship, needs to what's called repent. Repent simply means to turn away from. Do a 180 turn away from whatever behavior hurt the relationship. Repenting includes:
- Changing Thoughts and attitudes
- Changing Behaviors
- Not wanting to Look Back
- Focusing on a New Direction
- Living with integrityand honesty
An illustration I like to use is being on the beach and my goal is to not get wet. I'm not going to walk on that water line where the sand is kind of wet, but the waves aren't quite there, I'm going to be up on the boardwalk.I'm going to be as far away from the ocean as I can get. It's that same idea. That's not just skating by or thinking "How can I make this kind of work so don't have to give up ABC?". It's a complete 180 change in how we live our life.
Once there's a forgiveness and repentance, then the third part can happen. And that's restoration. That's a relationship getting back to where it was before. The relationship won't be the exactly the same, and that's probably a good thing! Whatever was underneath the damaged relationship can be addressed. The relationship can become stronger as a result! Restoring the relationship can include things like:
- Building Trust
- Maintaining Boundaries
- Clear Communication
- Living with Integrity
Restoring the relationship can be the most difficult part because it can take the most amount of time. There can also be a lot of setbacks, especially in rebuilding trust. Stay focused on the goals for the relationship and making the relationship as healthy as possible, and things will improve!