Being violated, either physically or emotionally, by a friend or family member is one of the most agonizing occurrences in life. A series of questions ultimately arise in the aftermath. When a trusted third party consciously dishonors you, should you forgive them? How and when do you forgive them? Where exactly should you draw the line of no forgiveness?
The volatility of subjective circumstance varies greatly between different individual incidents. Based on the situational level of variance, there is no universally accurate answer to those questions. However, there are explicitly defined points in the form of 10 simple words that someone should mindfully evaluate when contemplating the rationale behind forgiveness. One must remember not to concentrate solely on the negative act, but also on the actions that followed the act.
Ask yourself: In what manner were these 10 points affected?
- Family – A direct link to your past and the people most likely stick by your side. Was your family wrongfully implicated, attacked, or used against you in any way?
- Money – Commonly regarded as one of the most essential elements of personal livelihood. Was money involved, either directly, or through the exploitation of a lawsuit? Were there any detrimental long term effects?
- Love – One of the strongest emotional feelings a person can possess. Were emotional feelings on par with love shattered in any way? Who was affected? Was it based on the direct actions of someone else? Are the effects permanent?
- Respect – The integrity of principal and quite possibly the foundation for which all relationships are built upon. Was there a failure to meet agreed upon expectations? Did certain actions depict a lack of moral values? In was way did respect, or lack thereof, play a roll?
- Trust – An assumed relationship of reliance usually based on past experience. Honesty, good character, and competence usually build the bond of trust over time. Was your assumed trust in someone else purposely used against you? Could you ever trust them again?
- Friendship – A bond created by feelings of regard and loyalty to others. Were attacks made that resulted in the disruption of friendship between you and a third party? Was loyalty dropped just to benefit the casual needs of the other person?
- History – The past times gone by that have taken you to the present moment. How deeply embedded in your past is this person? If they died tomorrow, what would you remember most about them?
- Betrayal – A form of direct deception going against presumed trust and confidence in an individual. How exactly were you betrayed? Was this a clear account of genuine betrayal or was it merely a perceived betrayal from your point of view? What is the general consensus of third party opinion? Is there another side to the story that should be heard?
- Intensions – Decided upon actions that lead to a specific purpose. What were the primary intentions of the other person when they betrayed you? Were you directly connected to the outcome their intentions? What are there intentions now?
- Instinct – An inherent perception of something; your gut feeling. What do your instincts tell you about the situation and about the person… both in the past, present, and future?
PS: I figured I’d give a little background info on what provoked me to write about the topic of forgiveness.
Angel and I were recently contacted by an old friend from college. We haven’t spoken to this person since July of 2004. She was a member of a tight knit group of friends that we met our freshman year. Everyone in this group knew each other from high school, so initially Angel and I were the outsiders. We met the group when I randomly moved into a freshman college dorm/apartment with a couple of them. We hit it off, and ended up living together for the entire duration of our college careers. Needless to say we spent a lot of time together and regarded them as good friends.
A fallout in our relationship occurred when feelings were hurt based on intimate involvement between Angel’s sister and one of the guys in the group. The situation was handled immaturely at both ends. We could have easily rectified our issues in a short period of time. However, the conclusion of college provoked them to relocate, which complicated our line of communication. They then quickly started a legal battle over the condition of the rental property in which we had lived for several years. They basically took no responsibility for wear and tear on the property. Due to the complexity of the situation, the bill got stuck on my lap. I felt as if I had been collectively stabbed in the back by an entire group of my friends. After 4 years of solid friendship, we never spoke to them again… until we received the recent email.