Monday, June 18, 2007


Forgiveness has become a four letter word in my vernacular. I am in the process of giving the word new meaning for myself. Last night, I was thinking of my mom and why I have such a hard time with the idea of forgiving her. I realized I hold this belief around forgiveness that somehow if I forgive her, it means I have to have a relationship with her again. That I'm somehow obligated and responsible for making the relationship "right".

I remember as a JW how the idea of forgiveness became so emotionally charged. If you had a grievance with someone in the congregation, you were expected to forgive them and go back to being their friend. There was no choice, no option for saying, "Yes, I forgive them. But I choose to no longer be in their close acquaintance." If the elders found out that you'd made such a choice they would often mark you as a "bad associate", indicating that you were a "spiritually weak" person.

And yet, if someone transgressed the religion's lofty tenets, the elders could judge that person as "unrepentant" and not only withhold forgiveness but have that person expelled from the congregation and subsequently shunned by all of its members. It's a bit of a mindfuck to say the least.

No wonder it's been so difficult to keep healthy boundaries all these years. My tendency has been to feel bad if I choose to no longer maintain relationships I feel are currently unhealthy. It's a choice I am learning to exercise now with greater freedom. To be able to say, "Yes, I love and forgive that person. No, I don't want to be part of their life right now." And to let go. Ahh, the letting go. Powerful, yet ever challenging. I'm learning.

tall penguin

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