When I Chose to Forgive I think it was the night after I had discovered Wayne’s betrayal that he asked to meet with me so we could talk. He said he had some things that he wanted to tell me in person. Hoping to get an answer to my biggest question -“why”- I agreed to meet with him. I did not get the answer to my question that night, but what I did get was more pieces to the puzzle. He told me how he had begun to act out sexually when he was 12, then filled in some details from that time to the present. There was a long silence that followed his revelation. As I was trying to make sense of everything that I had just learned he said, “I am so sorry. I know you will never be able to forgive me.” Honestly, until he brought it up, the question of forgiveness had not entered my mind. I was in a state of shock, trying to let it all sink in. But as soon as he mentioned forgiveness, I realized I had a decision to make. There were a few more moments of silence as I considered my options. My initial reaction was to tell him that he was right; there was no way I could ever forgive him. But as I sat in that thought for a few minutes I began to sense a great danger to my heart. I fully realize how odd this must sound; my heart, having just received yet another deep wound, feeling a sense of danger over the prospect of withholding forgiveness from the one who had wounded me. I’m not sure that I can fully explain what I was feeling other than to say that I felt as though holding back forgiveness at that point would leave me vulnerable to an even greater amount of pain. So in an effort to preserve my heart, I chose to forgive him. I remember telling him, “I forgive you, but I don’t trust you, so you are still not welcome back at the house.” There was no logic behind my decision to forgive. I hadn’t taken a class on the art of forgiving, or heard a lesson on the dangers of not forgiving. At that point I had not yet met Rick and been introduced to the concept of ‘the cost of forgiveness.’ (He wrote a great newsletter on this recently, if you are interested.) I was just a girl with a severely wounded heart, who was doing the best she could to preserve what little of it she had left. As soon as I told Wayne that I had forgiven him, I felt an intense sense of relief, almost as if a giant burden had been released from off my back. Please don’t misunderstand, I still felt the pain of betrayal, but somehow I felt released from the need to carry anger and bitterness around with me as I healed. My decision to forgive my husband may seem a bit quick. Some might even argue that he got off too easy, but they would be missing the fact that while I forgave quickly, I did not rush through reconciliation. The process of mending our broken relationship was one that I walked through very slowly and carefully. While choosing both forgiveness and reconciliation, my ultimate goal was to guard and heal my heart, regardless of how long it may or may not take. OK… I would love to hear from you. What is your experience regarding forgiveness? What are your fears? What are your hopes? What has helped or hurt you in this process?