I have been thinking about writing a post on forgiveness for a while, but what happened recently finally made me do it. I found out that one of my dear friends had just gone through a painful breakup because of unfaithfulness. My heart aches for her and for all the people who have to go through a betrayal like that. The day when your closest, dearest person ruins your trust is the worst day of your life. When everything you've lived for just walked out the door... Is a situation like that really hopeless, and there is no turning back?
I wish I could say that I had never gone through unfaithfulness in a relationship, but, unfortunately, I have. No, not with my husband; it was before that. It was painful and terrible and awful... but I found strength to forgive. Or so I thought.
It was not until I met my husband that I learned about the true power of forgiveness. He taught me that people too often say "I am sorry," when they do not really mean it. When you say you are sorry, you do not truly admit you are in the wrong. It is more like you are saying that you are sorry the other person feels upset. It was not your fault they chose to feel that way. However, when you ask someone to forgive you for something, it is a whole another story.
When you ask for forgiveness, you humble yourself; you admit your fault. You are vulnerable and are completely at mercy of another person. When that person forgives you, he or she: 1) promises to treat you as if the incident never happened; 2) never brings it up again.
True forgiveness restores the relationship, reconciles you two, and brings you much closer together. After I had "forgiven" unfaithfulness, I thought it would not leave any scars. However, it continued to haunt me and eventually contributed to that relationship's end. Because I had not understood what it really meant to forgive, I would bring it up again and again, hurting everyone.
Is forgiving someone who hurt you too bad that simple? Absolutely not, but it is a difficult choice that we have to make. Our Lord forgave us for all our inequities, so this is the least we can do. We do not deal with serious issues in our marriage, but when we do hurt each other accidentally, asking for forgiveness (and forgiving) always, always works. It brings your freedom and peace and makes your relationship strong.