I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note — torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one. ~Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman
The older I get, the more I crave peace.
It’s an attitude I inherited from my late dad, only our methods differ.
Daddy wanted peace at any price. Peace in the family, he believed, could be had by giving in to the demands of difficult members.
“Kill them with kindness,” he used to say.
And while that attitude might be more Christ-like, I’ve observed that, with some folks, it just doesn’t work.
Maybe you’ve encountered the kind of people I’m talking about. They do everything in their power to stir up dissension. They tease without mercy, then criticize you for “not being able to take a joke.” They swoop into a room, emanating an aura of urgency and drama. And, worst of all, because they’re family, they know which buttons to press to ignite a host of angry, unsettled feelings in everyone else.
Now, drama has its place. The stage, of course, along with novels, the courtroom, television, and perhaps a middle school girls’ slumber party.
But not family.
Family is supposed to be a haven. A place where they understand you, comfort you, accept you (and all your humanness). As is. A place where, when your hopes are dashed, they pick you back up; when you’re celebrating a victory, they join right in; where they help you become a better you.
Not where you walk on eggshells because “anything you say can and will be used against you….” Not where old arguments are repeatedly brought up and bandied about again. Not where mistakes are ridiculed. Not where the inciter whispers behind your back, trying to shore up his stance by gathering supporters to his side. Not where abuse — be it mental, physical, or emotional — runs rampant.
So, while Daddy was quick to give in to maintain peace, I forgive in my heart and move on. I don’t need that kind of drama in my life — nor do I need the ones who bring it, regardless of the relationship. Forgiveness means wiping the slate clean; if someone can’t do that, I don’t want them in my orbit.
Recently, I read something that resonates with me — Cutting people from your life does not mean you hate them; it simply means you respect yourself.
Any thoughts you’d like to share?