To drive home this message, especially as we conclude this series on forgiveness, I would share a true story of a woman who found joy in forgiveness rather than regret.
“I Forgave my Husband for Cheating on Me.” By Christy Little Jones, from Fort Washington, Maryland.
“You don’t know me, but I am no longer dating your husband…I’m sorry for any pain I caused your family.” Christy recalls the exact moment she read that sentence, in an email sent to her last March. “My heart just stopped,” says the mother of four (to stepson AJ, 26; and Skye, 9; Blaze, 8; and Hayes, 6). “I felt paralyzed.”
Until that point, Christy, a relationship coach, believed that she and Adrian, 46, her husband of 10 years, were happily married. Certainly, things weren’t perfect: Business was slow for Adrian, a car salesman, and their bank balance had taken a hit. “Adrian and I were feeling pressure about money,” says Christy. But she had seen no other warning signs. “We still had date nights and did things as a family. I never dreamed he would betray me.”
After reading and rereading that email, Christy called her husband at work. Voice shaking, she demanded an explanation. “Adrian was defensive at first, said it never happened, and even hung up on me,” she remembers. “But a minute later he called back, crying, admitted it was true, and begged me to forgive him.”
The story unfolded: Adrian and a customer had flirted. A one-night stand had turned into a four-month affair. In February 2012, when the woman asked Adrian if he would ever leave his family, he broke off the relationship. “I was furious,” says Christy. “It was hard for me not to tell Adrian that we were over and to make him hurt as badly as I did.” Instead, the pair talked and wept together all night.
“Once the initial shock passed, I was faced with a choice,” she says. “I could either fight for my marriage or let this event change everything.”
Christy made a conscious decision to forgive. It didn’t happen instantly. For the next six months, she struggled with resentment and the fear that Adrian would not be committed to making the marriage work. “There were many times I asked him, ‘How could you live with yourself? How could you look me in the eye and lie for months?’ And to get closure, I needed to know every last detail of the affair. It was extremely painful for Adrian to answer my questions, but he did so with humility,” she says.
“Forgiving him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” says Christy, “but his honesty made it easier.” So did the fact that Adrian confided his wrongdoing to two friends from their church. The three of them began meeting each week to pray together and discuss their faith and the importance of marriage. “I appreciated that he wanted other people to hold him accountable,” says Christy.
While on vacation in Virginia last May, Christy and Adrian spontaneously renewed their wedding vows. “We continue to work on trust issues,” she admits. “But our marriage is stronger for it. I have no regrets.”
Culled from realsimple.com
The concept of forgiveness in human relationships is a multifaceted one. It is so because you have to offer it before you can receive it. More specifically, you need to pardon your offender, likewise, exonerate yourself from the hurt provided you were to be blamed for what happened.
However, the joy that comes from forgiveness can’t be quantified when you compare it with the pain of unforgiveness.
Do you know the hurt you nurse when you latch onto the ropes of unforgiveness has both its mental, psychological and spiritual effects? Whether it is to forgive a cheating spouse, a jilted lover, a rapist, murderer, or an absent parent; the joy that comes from forgiveness is matchless.
Imagine a situation where you suffer high blood pressure, depression, anger, heart palpitations, and resentment due to the unforgiveness you bottled up because of what someone did to you in the past. How would you feel? You’d be like a caged bird whose freedom has been restricted by the owner.
The caged bird is your mind and emotions, while the owner of the cage is your will which refuses to let go of the bird.
Unforgiveness cages your happiness and locks you and your offender in the prison cage of your mind. However, when you embrace forgiveness, like the dove that flew away from Noah’s Ark, you’d never return to the place where you have been kept captive.
Meanwhile, true happiness after an argument or an offense does not come by taking revenge, it is enjoyed when you embrace forgiveness and it’s highly rewarding. Remember, forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, neither does it make you a failure or inferior, it’s a symbol of maturity, understanding and love.
As I cap my pen, I would leave you with the words of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama of Tibet, in their book, The Book of Joy, they assert that “Forgiveness, for all of its difficulty and hard work, they say, is just the right thing to do to lead a joyful life”.