Thursday, November 13, 2014

Forgiveness Does Not equal Door-Mat.

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Photo:    Forgiving someone does not mean being their doormatToday I learned an important lesson on forgiveness.  To give you a little background, I was dealing with an old friend today.  They were someone that had wronged me time and time again.  In effort to forgive them, I continued to let them in my life and my personal space.  Through our dealings with each other, we find ourselves fighting, arguing, and getting frustrated with one another. For some reason, we just cannot get along.

It was today that I finally realized something about this person.  They are completely and utterly crazy.  They are disrespectful, rude, and talks to me any type of way despite me telling them not to.  They have a blatant disregard for how I feel and they really are a selfish person.

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.

The Bible teaches us

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 

I think for myself, I felt like if I forgave someone then I had to go above and beyond to try to do things for them in order to get along with them better.  But then I realized that forgiveness does not mean that I am going to allow you to abuse me because no one taught you how treat other people.

For example, 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 person to blame but yourself.

I am not saying that as Christians 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. As is the case with my friend.  They are not normal.  The way they function is not normal.  The way they treat people is not normal.  I cannot blame myself for this nor can I make them change.  It is a requirement for us to forgive and love everyone, but sometimes you just have to do that from a distance.

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 and then expect me to give them to her.  When I did not give her what she wanted, she would get mad and talk to me any kind of way.  That is not my sense of normalcy nor is it my definition of friends.

I did not have time for crazy.  I decided to walk away from that friendship and that was that.  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.  You forgiving someone does not mean that they are going to change the way they are or do anything different. So if you know this, then you have to know that it is best to step away from destructive people.  Because if you don’t they will continue to bring you down with them, and they will hinder your progress.

There are some people in life that you cannot take with you to your future.  It may be even 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 can help.  Not every body is going to accept your help and not everyone is going to change because you helped them. I have come to learn that you have to know when to let go.  If you know that you did the Christian things 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
  • 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 

If so, it is okay to cut those people off.  As Christians we can live for others and love one another, but it is okay to be selfish (see blog here).  It is okay to turn people away that cause you nothing but stress.  Forgiveness does not equal door-mat.