Today, for reasons of my own that do not need to be shared publicly, this song is playing in my head.
Don’t get me wrong: I firmly believe in forgiveness. Even if the other person never knows I have forgiven them, it’s important for myself spiritually and emotionally to move on from carrying that burden.
That does not always mean I can trust them again.
Contrary to what the platitudes say, time does not heal all wounds and forgiveness does not erase the memory.
It is also important, both spiritually and emotionally, that I protect myself and those I love from harm. If that means not giving someone the means to damage me or my family again, then that is what I must do.
I can be civil without letting a toxic person into my life or my home. Those barriers are not coming down.
I can let others have a friendship or relationship with that person if they are determined to do so, but if I see that they are in danger of experiencing significant harm, I will speak up or stand between them if I must.
I know that many of my Christian friends and family would say that my forgiveness is incomplete. They might suggest I am not showing love.
I would argue that sometimes the kindest and forgiving thing you can do for a person is to stay right away from them. I would also argue that neither God nor the nature of forgiveness itself demands that one must become a doormat or a willing receptor of someone else’s malignity.
There are a handful of people about whom I have made that decision over the course of my life, and I am confident that in each situation, slamming that door firmly and permanently shut is the best thing I could have chosen to do about it.
Sometimes, you just have to leave certain people behind and move on.
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