Forgiveness (with or Without You), White-Picket Boundaries, and Reconciliation
One of the best parts about forgiveness is it’s a personal process. It’s something we can do alone with God through prayer, whether the offender is dead, estranged, or never seen again. Its power can transform our hearts and change our lives—forever—with or without that specific person.
Although, forgiveness is a personal must and a spiritual command laid out for our best good: most poignantly our heart’s soft freedom. There is, of course, a high cost to forgiveness and freedom: the sacrificial action of bearing the pain, much like Jesus did on the cross. For some transgressions can never be “made up for” or “made right”, and no amount of punishment could ever erase the pain. In these more serious scenarios one is left in something of a stalemate. It begs the question, is reconciliation worth it and to what extent is it even possible?
Sometimes we will withhold forgiveness as a last-ditch effort of control over the offense. Sometimes we can be made to feel powerless over the offense and we fester there, because it’s somewhat true, at least looking back retrospectively. For the offense has already been made. There is no controlling that, or grappling it, or wrangling it. It’s over and done with; a shadow of today and shadows aren’t worth living in (even though sometimes we are tempted).
The power we have is in how we PROCEED with our lives.
⁃ By not letting the offense define our worth.
⁃ By forgiving and finding personal freedom
⁃ By choosing how, when, under what circumstances, or if to interact with that person again …
This is where our power lies.
For every time forgiveness comes into play a boundary has been crossed.
Therefore, each act of forgiveness is a white picket fence opportunity to reassess those boundaries.
We get to determine what steps need to be taken to keep ourselves safe from more harm. We get to weigh if we are willing to give getting-hurt-again another opportunity, with whom, and if that risk is worth it. There are a ton of two-person factors that must come into play before reconciliation can happen and we get to determine our own set of terms.
Perhaps we need to build a wall and arm it with machine guns. Perhaps we only need to mend a single picket. Either way, it’s our chance to decide.
“But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:15 NKJV
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” - Ephesians 4:32 NKJV