Forgiveness is Not a Pardon

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.”
Iyanla Vanzant

Road Closed

Let the Road to the past stay Closed (Photo credit: MOEVIEW is Aaron Molina)

Forgiving those that hurt us is such a complicated act.

At first I was unable to even think of forgiving my abusive father. And then I thought I had to forgive him, to feel better. But I also thought then that forgiveness was akin to a pardon, and let him and all of his toxicity back in my life. It took many painful years to understand that I could forgive him, but in order to close the road to the past I had to close the road to him as well. You can’t forgive and put it in the past if someone is still hurting you in the present. I understand this now.

It took me so many years to shake the guilt, shame, and sense of obligation. I put on a happy face and played the part of the good daughter, because I knew nothing else to do. I do now. I know what to do. No more playing parts or plastering on quiet smiles. I am always me now. Good or bad, happy or sad, whatever, I am authentic.

Now the most complicated part has actually been forgiving myself. Still working on this one, but see glimpses of that road closing too. The same theory applies here. I did terrible things, I hurt myself and my family in numerous ways through desperate acts of despair. I thought there was no way to pardon those acts. So my new idea fits with the quote on the top.

I have stopped hoping that the past could be different. I am no longer stuck. I forgive my parents, my brothers, my husband, myself, hell, I even forgive the world (and God? That’s another story I’m not sure I’ll ever tackle in this blog).

My hope to change the past has transformed into acceptance of my present and hope for my future. When I stopped looking back, and closed that road, I could finally see all the roads inviting me forward.  Sometimes I still stumble, and look back and flood myself with fear and old familiar pain. Sometimes. Not all of the time. And when I do look back now, I can see that road closed sign is much, much farther away, vanishing behind me with each step forward I take.

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9 thoughts on “Forgiveness is Not a Pardon

  1. Forgiveness is one sure way of setting ourselves free of pain and setting others free of guilt. If God can forgive all the “junk” we do? who are we not to? thanks for passing by my blog 🙂 cheers!

    • Thank you, for this, and for so many other thought provoking comments. I tried to visit your blog, but it is private. I do not expect you to let me in, just wanted to return the visit and learn more about my newest commenter. Peace to you.

  2. I like this. I agree forgiving myself is the hardest. I appreciate my counselor teaching me that I did not have to love my abusive mother and forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. It was one of the burdens I could lay aside. I like your road closed idea. Thanks.

  3. Well said; I think the quote sums it up – when I first learned of forgiveness I really thought I had to reconcile like Ruth mentions and it lead to a lot of guilt, shame and obligation as you mention. All the same feelings of coming from an unhealthy home. You describe it beautifully in this post. xxoo TR

  4. LOVE THIS POST! I’m getting caught up on some of my favorite bloggers now that I’m (almost) done with grad school. This one resonated with me as I’ve had to work through the forgiveness process myself. I pray for those I’ve forgiven. That is a huge step. Putting the positive energy into the universe for my “enemies”. Like you said, one doesn’t have to allow them back into one’s life in order to forgive. We don’t forget; we just don’t let them have power over us anymore. Thank you for this post!

    • I also pray for those that have harmed me. I hold no more hate in me. I pray for them to change and have peace too. And slowly the painful past is losing power. Thank you for all of the recent likes, it was fun to get so much attention!

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