Thinking Through Forgiveness

We hurt each other a lot, unintentionally, with assumptions mostly or lack of empathy. But I’m not wondering about small injuries. Those are easy. Forgive. In relationships, those little things can layer up, of course, and become habits or large seeming monstrosities. So that eventually one fights about lettuce and bursts into tears screaming, “It’s not about the lettuce!”  But even that sort of thing seems fixable with forgiveness + a mindfulness, a de-layering like a shave of Parmesan until everyone’s smelly faults are minimized to a point where they can be ignored. Maybe masked by a nice candle or some Glade. 🙂

But I’m am thinking about a different kind of forgiveness. The big heavy icky stuff.  My character is considering forgiving her fiance for sleeping with a stripper. She is not a weak willed woman and they are in love with one another. They both have issues, but she’s not a doormat. She is however, a woman confused about her values. She wants things this man can give her and she knows on some level those material things are not quite healing her past injuries. But she still un-apologetically wants them. Then this goes and happens. So…

Photo Credit: Electron at Wikicommons
Photo Credit: Electron at Wikicommons

She wants what life with this man means and she still loves him.

She also wants to be strong and have self respect and not get walked over.

Tough choice.

So she ends up in a stalemate and comes to consider, instead of just her own needs, the idea of forgiveness. And so I am wondering what she is wondering.

Does forgiving this fully remorseful man who gives heartfelt promise of change make her foolish? Brave? Cowardly? Also, what level of importance does she give the consequences of this forgiveness beyond just the couple? The other people in her life either support this or seriously oppose it. Judgments will be flying at her and chipping away the confidence of her decision.

In the end, I think I’ve decided (although I’m not 100% sure) that she’ll forgive him… hesitantly. She will tread lightly in the newness. And then I, the writer in the sky, will yank the rug out from under her in a different way. Because life is just like that when you live in a novel.

Anyone have thoughts forgiving big transgressions? Is it an ultimate act of love or an act of personal cowardice? Or something else entirely?


  1. Something else entirely… it’s the ultimate act of love for oneself, not the transgressor. As in “I love myself enough not to let *** [this/him/it] ruin my **** [day/month/life.]” Negative feelings weigh us down, occupy our mental space, and cause us to miss out on the life otherwise occurring around us. When I forgive, it’s so that I can move forward.

  2. So, is she a Hilary or a Jennifer Sanford? How strong is she? Does she still love him and focuses(?) on the final goal?
    Is he part of the final goal? If yes to all, she stays. Her identity can not be related to him, ie. she is not Mrs So-and-so, she is MS…

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