Forgiveness and reconciliation does not always go hand and hand. I have learned that we can forgive someone but it is also best to forgive them and leave then where they are instead of inviting them back into your inner circle. An example of this would be frenemies (see my blog here). People who do you wrong and then want to pretend to be your friends. If being their friend is hurting you, yes forgive them, but please keep them at a distance.
I remember the time when I was dealing with an old friend. They were someone that had wronged me time and time again. In a misguided effort forgive them, I continued to let them in my life and time and time again. Leading to fights, arguing, and getting frustrated with one another. For some reason, we just could not get along but I still wanted to help her. And I thought that since I had forgiven them, that I had to keep going in this crazy cycle of emotional abuse.
Until, I finally realized something about this person. They are completely and utterly crazy. They are disrespectful, rude, and they talk to me any type of way. They have a blatant disregard for how I felt and they were a selfish person. And more importantly they were not my friend. And they were causing me pain. But at this point I could no long blame them for how they treated me. I had to blame myself for continuing to give them the opportunity to treat me bad.
Some people you are not meant to be friends with forever, but they are meant to just be your friend for a season. Meaning that you grow out of people or maybe you should have never been involved with that person in the first place. At this point a wonderful revelation came to me. I do not have to deal with this person. I can choose to have sanity and I can choose to let this person go about their business and not worry about what they do. It does not mean that I will hate them, but I can forgive from a distance. (Also check out my blog on forgiving your enemies).
If your friend is a kleptomaniac thief, and you let them stay in your house, and when they are in your house they steal some of your things. You can forgive them, but if you choose to let them in your house again and again and again, knowing they are a thief and they steal from you each time, then you have no one to blame but yourself.
I am not saying we should not help people or try not to get along with people. But you cannot make people change who they are and they really might have some deep rooted issues that keeps them from being normal. And if you allow these deep rooted issues in your circle then their issues can rub off on you causing to have issues of your own. (Click here to read my blog on how other people’s issues can cause you to have your own problems).
I once had a female co-worker. She too was an unstable human being. The definition of friendship to her meant that she would ask me for things like money, finish her paper work on the job because she did not want to do it, or to see her clients when she did not feel like seeing them. When I did not give her what she wanted, she would get mad, and talk to me any kind of way. The relationship I had with her was mentally exhausting. She wanted us to hang out more and be friends. But I couldn’t. Dealing with her was hard. Her sense of normalcy was not my sense of normalcy.
I decided to walk away. I harbor no harsh feelings toward her, but that does not mean that I have to go over her house every weekend and allow her to treat me in the same fashion as before. Forgiveness and reconciliation does not always go hand and hand. You forgiving someone does not mean that they are going to change the way they are or do anything different. And really when you forgive people it is for your own benefit not theirs (see my blog here for more on that topic).
It may be those same people that are keeping you from your future. That is why it is best to realize who you must move on from and who you can help. Not every body is going to accept your help and not everyone is going to change because you’ve helped them. I have come to learn that you have to know when to let go and letting go does not equal unforgiveness. If you know that you did the Christian thing and the person is still bringing you down, then let go. That is not being mean or unforgiving, that is being smart.
Therefore, I challenge you to look at the people who cause you stress or the people who leach off your kindness. You have to asked your self are they:
- Bringing you down (also check out my blog on how to deal with people who bring you down)
- Causing you more harm than good
- Mistaking your kindness for weakness
- Cheating on you over and over again after you have taken them back
- Smacking you around
- Disrespecting you
- Disregarding your feelings
- Making you feel bad about yourself
It is okay to turn people away that cause you nothing but stress. Forgiveness and reconciliation does not always go hand and hand. Mostly importantly, forgiveness does not equal door-mat.