When I say that I forgive you, please understand. I am not saying that what you did was okay. It most certainly was not okay. It wasn't okay then. It's not okay now. And it will never be okay. But I forgive you anyway.
When I say I forgive you, I am not saying that you did not hurt me. You made me cry. You made me feel vulnerable. You compromised my ability to trust. My life has been forever changed by what you did to me. Make no mistake about it. You hurt me. But I forgive you anyway.
When I say I forgive you, I am not saying all is forgotten. It is not forgotten and I will likely never forget. As years go by, the pain may lessen, but I will not forget. But, still, I forgive you.
When I say I forgive you, I am not saying that I trust you not to hurt me again. Depending on the degree to which I heal, I may be able to trust you again sometime in the future. But I do not trust you right now. I forgive you - but right now, I do not trust you.
When I say I forgive you, I am not saying you should get a free pass. I am saying that vengeance is not mine to seek. Justice belongs to God and I trust that He will deal with you in a manner that is fair and right - for I believe that God is merciful - but not at the expense of justice. In God, justice and mercy meet and I believe that we will all experience both. Paul tells us in Romans 12:19:
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
So - what am I saying?
When I say I forgive you, I am saying that I choose not to hold onto negative feelings toward you. I am saying that I will not wish bad things for you. I will not live my life waiting for you to 'get yours'. I forgive you- that's all! I forgive you because I am called to be a child of God and when I hold onto anger and feelings of revenge, I block God's ability to use me as a channel of His love and goodness. I was created for God's purpose and more than anything I want Him to be able to fulfill His Divine Purpose in me.
When I say that I forgive you I am saying that I will pray for you. I will pray that God will bless you with spiritual blessings that will help you to understand how you hurt me and I will pray that your new found understanding will lead you to repentance and a deeper relationship with Your Creator.
Whatever relationship is carved out for you and me in the future will be guided by the hand of God. It will not be based on what I want or what you want, but will be rooted in God's mercy and justice and will serve His purpose.
I forgive you because this is what God asks of me.
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
I pray for you because God asks that of me also.
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
I forgive you because it's important to me to live what I profess to believe. I forgive you because I want God to be happy with me. When I pray to Him, I want Him to find my heart to be pure and sincere. I want Him to know that I trust Him. I trust His justice - and I trust His mercy. He is my Father and I will honor Him.
I forgive you. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life. - Amen