John and Lisa had been in my office many times before tonight.  John had an affair six months ago and the couple was just now getting to a place of increased trust, safety and acceptance within the relationship.  This past week Lisa had overheard a couple talking about infidelity, which took her back six months emotionally to the time of the affair.  She commented to John that she wished they were at a different place and not dealing with the aftermath of his actions.  This caused John to become defensive and an argument ensued.    During our session the question of forgiveness came up and I asked Lisa if she had forgiven John.  Her response was to ask me what does it mean to forgive.  A good question. 

The emotions in life can make forgiveness a very difficult and challenging activity.  It can cause us to doubt ourselves and our ability to move on.  But forgiveness is essential to moving on.  To hold on to the past is to limit your future.  We can get stuck in the past, unable to break free, a victim to the pain and memories of yesterday.  To truly break free of the past can be as simple as taking action.  To forgive is to decide to forgive.  It is making a decision to no longer hold the person that hurt you accountable for the infraction.  It is saying I give up my right for payback or restitution.  It is giving the paybacks to God.

Understand I am not saying boundaries do not exist, nor am I releasing the one who made the error of consequences.  But to forgive is to say it is time to move on.  It is to release yourself of the burden that we as victims can carry.  Interestingly enough, when the one hurt forgives the one that hurt them, it is the one forgiving that gains the most peace.  This does not mean your memory goes away, nor for a time the feeling of being hurt, but to forgive is to move forward and to embrace life ahead.  Lisa learned what it means to forgive John, and both continue to embrace the future, while putting to rest the past.

Phil. 3:13-14, " thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus".


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