Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution (Wikipedia).
Ceasing to demand punishment I say in a coy voice. This is a real tough one for me.
I know that in the past I have truly forgiven people for causing me great offence but I now wonder if, after looking back at the matter, I really ceased from demanding punishment. I kept them out of my personal life and space permanently. Out of sight and out of mind.
Furthermore, I recently began to think, was it right to have nothing more to do with those people? Don't get me wrong on this, how could you ever trust them again? What's the point in playing games with people and wasting one's time? Isn't that the purpose of having this thing called a memory, so that you don't forget? Are we not told, that 'those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it', so why put yourself back in the firing line, then complain that you got shot? After all, losing your memory is seen as a bad thing, so why deny it's use?
I fully understand that some relationships need to be severed for safety's sake and for peace of mind, but I was severing on a different level.
I have in the past tried to continue offended relationships, but it always ends in resentment, anger and bad thoughts against that person. I have no problem being polite and saying hello when I bump into them, but anything more would simply make me feel like a hypocrite, pretending to enjoy their company when all I'm really thinking about is how they might 'stab me in the back' again. You see, I don't like 'living in the grey'. I like to know where I stand, so trust and honesty are very important factors in the people I have around me. Sever it, and I'm done.
With all that said, does it mean therefore that I have not truly forgiven them, because if I had, wouldn't I be willing to give them a second chance? That's my dilemma and this is what has been bugging me for a number of weeks now.
So, my big questions are:
What does it really mean to forgive, and can you share your stories of real forgiveness with us?
Should you forget what was done to you and move on as if nothing happened?
How many chances should you give someone before you call it a day?