According to social norms, when one offers forgiveness for a wrongdoing, the wrongdoer typically accepts the forgiveness and the process moves both parties closer to a place of peace. Maybe the relationship will never completely heal, but forgiveness usually is a step in that direction.
Unless you are me apparently.
A few months back I blogged about a betrayal I experienced. After holding on to this festering sore of ugliness I decided I truly needed to forgive. Not flowery hearts on a card, but a true act of forgiveness. I felt to truly forgive the person, I needed to tell them. I did just that in a brief e-mail, proof-read by my husband. While the person I was forgiving did not contact me her spouse did. It seems they are if the mind-set that I actually don't need to be doling out forgiveness...I need to apologize.
Apologize? For what exactly I have no idea. Though, I would like to know. If there is a wrong that I have done that I am not aware of...I really want to be the first to know. But, I am sure if I found out this very moment that I did indeed do something I would not be the first receive this knowledge. I am sure it has been gossiped about and grumbled about. And, here is me, not having a clue offering out forgiveness for betrayal. Silly me.
As I read and re-read the cryptic e-mail of "Self Honesty" - that was its title when it was sent back to me - the thing that sparked my anger was that the spouse said really terrible things about me...in the name of Christianity. I am sorry. Christianity does not give a person the right to be aggressive and ghastly to another person. It also does not give one authority to question another person's faith and tell them you hope they find God's path. Um...let's see...judging, condemning, passive-aggressive bullying...yep, pretty sure that is not the Christian way.
Even though the spouse's opinion means little to me, his words stung. I had wished my betrayer a life of joy with her spouse. I asked if she could do the same with my spouse. Apparently not. But, it is OK. Believe it or not, I am not going to let the words of utter foolishness hurt me. I did cry. I also pondered. I wondered why my extended olive branch was snapped in half. However, I still forgive. As I wrote in my letter of forgiveness, "I don't have to understand why you did what you did in order to forgive you."
Though it will not be submitted for acceptance in written form to the person, my forgiveness still stands. I am forgiving so I can keep my joy. I am not going to let words of ignorance take my joy. I am not dredging up past hurts to experience yet again. I am forgiving. I don't get it. I don't understand. But I forgive...and I have joy!