Chapter Twelve: Forgiveness
Have you ever had a good friend, but they did something to you and refused to see their wrongdoings and apologize? Can you forgive them, and if so, how difficult is it for you to forgive them and why? That's the question I asked 12 people tonight, and I got some very good answers, as always. I've had this happen to me so many times, and I know that it can be so difficult to forgive people, even when they DO admit their wrongdoing and apologize. So forgiving someone when they haven't asked for forgiveness can be one of the hardest things in the world.
Most of the people I asked responded in a similar type of way, but all had their own insight on it. They told me that it honestly depends on the situation, but that they would eventually find it in their heart to forgive the person. One person said she pretty much always finds a way to forgive them because she was cursed with a big heart. Another friend said in the past, she wouldn't have ever forgiven someone who refused to apologize, but as she got older she realized it wasn't in her best interest to let it bother her. Life is too short to wait for an apology that will never come. Someone else told me that it's really hard, but you need to. Somehow you just have to move on and be a better you because of it. Another friend said that forgiving someone who has no remorse helps you learn to let go for the sake of your happiness, even if you end up losing respect for that person in the process. Two other people said that they would eventually, because it will be eating you up inside when they're not even thinking about it, and you also don't want them to think you're okay with it when you're not. If it's something that can be forgiven, it's not worth losing a friend over.
On the other hand, sometimes it's impossible, no matter how hard you try. If it's life-changing or emotional and hits you deep, it can hurt you worse if they don't apologize because you realize that they don't care enough to admit they're wrong and you can't or don't want to forgive them. I talked to a friend who went through a perfect example of this. She had a friend who had been there since childhood, who had asked her to co-sign on a car because she didn't have enough credit. So, of course, being her best friend of almost 10 years, she wanted to help her. She did, and then her friend stopped talking to her, and stopped making payments on the car. Then, she totaled the car and the co-signer had to pay the sum of whatever was owed, which ended up being over $700. She was also seven months pregnant at the time and obviously was trying to save up money for her new baby.
"She now tries to communicate with me but with no apology stating she was in the wrong. I will never be able to fully forgive her for ruining my credit and ruining a great friendship over a car. She hurt me bad; I never had friends growing up and for my only friend to up and leave out of no where after I basically gave her my identity to help her.... she has no remorse for what she did. It's very hard for me to even think about the time her and I used to spend together because I will always at heart be hurt."
I thought that was a perfect example of when it's pretty much impossible to forgive someone. You have no patience or trust left for that person, because it kills you to know how close you were and that you trusted them but they betrayed that trust. We have all been wronged before. It's up to us to decide whether we should forgive the person who wronged or betrayed us, and it can be the most difficult decision to deal with in your lifetime. Sometimes it's better to let that person go because you know that if they did it once, they can certainly do it again. And if they neglected to apologize, they could certainly do that again, too. Sometimes a simple apology is all someone needs to be able to forgive someone, but they'll be waiting forever, because people are too stubborn to admit when they are wrong. And sometimes, it doesn't matter who is at fault, because both sides will always feel like they were wronged. So a big thank you to everyone who braved answering this question. It is a very challenging question, and I have gotten so many different answers its crazy. Some people have the ability to just forgive and forget and brush things off. Others will never be able to forgive; it just won't be the same. Some know in their hearts that forgiveness is the right thing to do, but they just can't see it happening. Honestly, I have a hard time NOT forgiving people. I will always forgive even when I don't understand why I'm doing it. A very smart lady (hi mom) taught me that forgiveness is the first step to healing yourself. I guess that's why I can't just learn to ice someone out. DAMN.