The Thing They Don’t Tell You About Forgiveness

The Thing They Don’t Tell You About Forgiveness

“Life is long, that people both change and remain the same, that every last one of us will need to fuck up and be forgiven. That we’re all just walking and walking and walking and trying to find our way, that all roads eventually to the mountaintop”

Cheryl Strayed

Everyone talks about the importance of forgiveness. How freeing it is. That it’s for you and not them… Forgive and end suffering. Forgive and move on. Forgive so you can mend, heal and restore. Forgive so that if you desire, you can rebuild a relationship with your family member, friend, partner or loved one. Forgive others, as Christ has forgiven you. But I’m not Christ. I’m just me; broken, confused and longing. I am not without sin like Christ, I am insanely flawed. These are the things they don’t tell you about forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t erase the memory. Forgiving actually means you’ll never forget. That pain, hurt, shame, and humiliation is always right there, waiting for the right moment to consume you all over again. They don’t tell you that a song, a thought, a conversation, or a meme can make it all come flooding back with a pain so sharp it’s as if you’re experiencing it for the first time. They don’t tell you that forgiving means you replay those moments over and over, some from one incarnation to the next.

They don’t tell you that forgiving means acknowledging that moment did happen. To forgive, you must first accept that you’ve been crushed, maimed, desecrated and hurt in the worst ways possible. To forgive means you admit to yourself that someone you loved, depended on, and trusted took the life right out of you.

They don’t tell you that when you forgive, it means you risk letting it happen again. When you forgive the man you love, the mother you adore, the father you respect, or the friend you’ve known forever, they may repeat the offense. They don’t tell you that you’re expected to carry the burden of protecting yourself from those who should be protecting you.

They don’t tell you that forgiveness often means you may never learn to trust again. That when you say, “I forgive you”, you give up on life. The rug is pulled out from under you as you realize the life you were living was a lie. You struggle to find the hope that all will be well. They don’t tell you that forgiveness doesn’t make you whole, it actually fragments a part of your soul. When you forgive, it tells the other person they got away, they get a pass, perhaps another chance. When you forgive, they say you’re free. What they don’t tell you is that when you forgive, you may be free, but not clear. Your freedom was paid with debt you will forever owe.

It’s true, you can forgive and never speak to them again. You can cut them off and live as if they never existed. But what about those you can’t cut off? That’s the thing they don’t tell us about forgiveness. The pain remains. It never goes away. And that is why you must never ever do anything to hurt someone you really love. They may forgive you. But they’ll never be whole. They’ll never forget the pain. And you’ll never know what their tears really mean.

This is what they don’t tell us about forgiveness.


Kathleen Nicole

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: