My personal story of forgiveness after betrayal is tied to someone else, and I am not free to share his part. But I will share my own heart’s process.
The betrayal hurt. It would have been easy to puff up with self-righteousness and not offer forgiveness. But even without a restoration of the relationship, I did not want to live my life locked in a prison of bitterness.
God was not surprised by these events, and he prepared me. My writing leading up to this time centered on forgiveness. Through that writing God gave me insights¾some of them hard to swallow because I hurt—but they helped me forgive even when the behavior continued.
The 5 truths included:
Understanding what forgiveness is and what it is not. Forgiveness is not just turning a blind eye and allowing the behavior to continue. Nor is it letting the person off with no consequences. I had to let go of the “right” to exact judgment for myself and allow God to determine that person’s path.
Ultimately, God longs for all men to come to him and he works toward that end in the person’s life. But how that happens, remains in the hand of God.
Seeing the log in my own eye. I am not without sin. This person’s choices were his own, but in my own life, in my own way, I choose to sin and walk without God. I need his grace and mercy as much as this person does. This truth helped me be compassionate, to extend the same forgiveness that I needed.
Understanding the nature of the sin-addiction. It wasn’t about me, and this person couldn’t just “stop it”. This truth helped me step aside and stop trying to fix the situation. A person usually has to feel the effects of his/her choices before finally making a decision to change. If not, he/she stays blinded to the truth.
Letting someone fall is not the absence of forgiveness.
Trusting God. Allow God to restore my heart, no matter what happens with the relationship. Walk in that freedom with worship and praise and not allow the offender to drag me back into a cycle of destruction.
Understanding that a one-size response does not fit all situations. When people learn about your situation, they give all sorts of advice. What worked for their neighbors, something they read about or what they think should happen based on their limited experiences.
Our first counsel must come from God. Then as we sort truth from emotion, we choose counsel from someone who walks in victory and compassion.
Ultimately, forgiveness is a choice. It frees us from the bitterness that inhibits our spiritual walk and supplies hope to our weary hearts as God heals our wounds.
Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She home-schools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now off to the Marines. She has taught Bible classes for over 35 years and served for almost three years on the leadership team of her local Christian writers’ group. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. Her first novel, “Where Hope Starts,” shares the story of God’s redemption in the middle of a crumbling marriage.